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Chiranjeevi says open to alliance with Cong

New Delhi: It looks like the Congress may go for a tie up with Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam in Andhra Pradesh if Jaganmohan Reddy’s loyalists turn rebels and resort to cross-vote in the June 14 Rajya Sabha elections.

Chiranjeevi, who arrived here on Saturday, will hold talks with senior Congress leaders Veerappa Moily and Ahmed Patel before meeting party chief Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress has 156 members in the Assembly while the TDP has 91 and the PRP has 16 MLAs. The Congress can get three Rajya Sabha seats from the state against the Telugu Desam Party’s two.

The Congress is believed to be keen on forging a long term alliance with the actor-turned politician. The party hopes to upstage the TDP and also counter Jagan’s clout by roping in Chiranjeevi. The actor belongs to the Kapu community and may turn out to be a vote bank for the Congress party.

Jagan, son of former chief minister YSR, has support of at least 37 MLAs within the Congress. He defied the party and went ahead with his ODAR-PU yatra in Telangana on Friday. But the programme was abandoned after his supporters clashed with Telangana supporters at Mah-bu-bad, culminating in police opening fire.

The violence left 24 persons injured and Jagan was taken into preventive custody. The Congress top leadership has also asked for a report on whether Jagan’s yatra caused any law and order problem.

The yatra was meant to console the families of those who committed suicide following YSR’s death. But the Congress party doesn’t want to take any chances in the Rajya Sabha elections.

Chiranjeevi had recently announced that his party would contest the elections to the Upper House. CNN-IBN had an exclusive interview of the actor-turned-politician after he arrived here on Saturday.

CNN-IBN: Are you ready to take the Congress’ hand?

Chiranjeevi: It depends. Once I am convinced, the party will extend its hand too. We are prepared to go for a friendly alliance.

CNN-IBN: What kind of negotiations do you expect?

Chiranjeevi: I don’t know because we got the invitation and the subject we were told is the Rajya Sabha seat. I don’t know what they are going to say.

CNN-IBN: What do you think you have to offer to the Congress party?

Chiranjeevi: Depends upon what they ask me for.

CNN-IBN: It seems that the Congress is using you against Jaganmohan.

Chiranjeevi: It is about our friendly alliance. When that will happen, it will be a win-win situation. We both have secular ideology.

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