The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) chief K. Chiranjeevi on Thursday dismissed as ‘baseless’ media reports that his party was planning to merge with the ruling Congress party.
Mr. Chiranjeevi said he would continue to serve the people -- the mission with which he entered politics a year ago.
His comments came as PRP leaders and activists took to the streets and staged a demonstration in front of the office of Telugu daily Eenadu, which carried a report that a section of PRP legislators had urged the party leadership to merge the outfit with the Congress.
Holding aloft party flags and raising slogans against the newspaper, the PRP activists staged protest before the newspaper office, bringing vehicular traffic to a halt in the busy Somajiguda area. Police arrested PRP leaders and cadre who had squatted on the road demanding an apology from the newspaper.
Earlier, Mr. Chiranjeevi reacted strongly to the newspaper report and alleged that two Telugu newspapers were trying to create confusion in the party and doubts in peoples’ mind for their own agenda.
“The report was published to strangulate PRP. Bringing down the party’s flag is like strangulating the mother who gave birth to me. No one can bring down the party flag,” Mr. Chiranjeevi said. He wanted to know why Eenadu and Andhra Jyoti were trying to target him.
Mr. Chiranjeevi, who launched the PRP amid much fanfare in August last year, went into a huddle with party legislators and other leaders Thursday morning.
The PRP leaders said that while some legislators may want to join the Congress or the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the PRP was here to stay under the leadership of Mr. Chiranjeevi.
“There is no truth in the report. One or two MLAs may want to join the Congress or the TDP, but the party is not depending on them,” said PRP spokesperson Vasireddy Padma.
“PRP is here to stay under the leadership of Mr Chiranjeevi. He is determined to strengthen the party from the grassroots level on the slogan of social justice,” legislator K. Kanna Babu said.
“Our leader has made it clear that those who want to leave the party may do so but the party is here to stay,” said Kanna Babu, a close aide of the actor.
Though the party suffered a setback, winning only 18 seats in the 294-member assembly and drawing a blank in the Lok Sabha polls, it polled 17 percent or seven million votes, he said.