Hyderabad/New Delhi (Agencies): Opposition parties on Sunday called merger of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeev's PRP with Congress as "political opportunism" and a "sell out"
to the ruling party.

The Congress on its part said the merger was to strengthen it and was not aimed at countering the ex-Congress MP and late Y S Rajsekhara Reddy's son Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

"The move is to strengthen the Congress in the state. We are not against any individual. It is not against any personality. Chiranjeevi is fighting against poverty and we want him to be with us," the AICC in-charge for Andhra Pradesh M Veerappa Moily said when asked whether the move was to counter the Jagan threat.

Chiranjeevi who had floated Praja Rajyam Party(PRP) under the slogan of 'social justice and welfare of downtrodden' has decided to merge his party with Congress which never worked for these causes, BJP's Andhra unit Chief G Kishan Reddy told the press.

"It is a "U" turn for Chiranjeevi who formed his party criticising corrupt and wrong policies of Congress", he lamented and said " it is political opportunism".

"PRP is a sinking ship and Chiranjeevi has no capacity to run a political party," Reddy added.

Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya said " it was unfortunate that Chiranjeevi has decided to merge his party with Congress for selfish political gain and provide employment to his partymen in Congress".

Main opposition TDP too slammed Chiranjeevi for the merger while TRS did not appear to be worried over the development or whether the merger would hurt its demand for Telangana statehood.

"This is a sell out to the Congress," senior TDP MLA D Narendra alleged.

Ex-TRS MP B Vinod Kumar said mergers and splits in political parties are common in Indian political parties.

"We don't think the merger of Congress and PRP is going to delay or affect the formation of separate Telangana. Praja Rajyam has already said they will abide by whatever decision is taken by the Centre," he said.

In New Delhi, Congress general secretary and media department chief Janardan Dwivedi said the party welcomed the decision of Chiranjeevi.

"It will definitely give strength to the Congress and we hope that all formalities (of merger) will be completed very soon," he said.

He added that the PRP chief has "certain social issues" and assured that Congress would take them into consideration.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, "everything is done after a holistic perspective to strengthen the party at all levels."

He said the merger is intended to leverage the "unique" characteristics and "talents" of the regional party and to synergise them with the Congress objectives of sustaining and exceeding achievements made in Andhra Pradesh by two successive governments.

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