Andhra Pradesh's ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is set to get a shot in the arm ahead of the elections as senior Congress leader and former Union minister Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy has decided to join it.
Suryaprakash Reddy, son of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kotla Vijayabhaskar Reddy, and his family members will join the TDP at a public meeting to be held in Kurnool on February 28. TDP sources said Chief Minister and TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu will welcome him into the party at the meeting.
A three-time Lok Sabha member from Kurnool, Suryaprakash Reddy is considered a Congress strongman in Kurnool district. Political observers say his joining the TDP would help it to consolidate votes in the region.
Suryaprakash Reddy, who served as Minister of State for Railways in UPA government in 2012-14, had last month called on Naidu, triggering speculations about his next political move. Suryaprakash was reportedly displeased with the party's decision to head to the polls without an alliance, unlike in Telangana.
Naidu has set aside the objections raised by Deputy Chief Minister K E Krishnamurthy over Suryaprakash Reddy's admission. The KE and Kotla families have been political rivals in the region for decades.
Suryprakash Reddy wants to contest again from Kurnool Lok Sabha seat while he is seeking TDP ticket for his wife Kotla Sujatamma for Done or Aluru Assembly constituencies.
Naidu has also reportedly agreed to make Suryaprakash Reddy's son Raghavendra Reddy a member of the Legislative Council.
After the Congressâ€™ failure to win a single seat in the 2014 elections following bifurcation of the state, Suryaprakash was hopeful that the party's fortunes would change, if they created an alliance with the TDP. However, the party was firm on their stance of going alone, leaving him no choice but to quit the party.
Elections to Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Lok Sabha are due in April-May.