Former Union Minister and Congress leader V. Kishore Chandra Deo on Sunday joined the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) along with his supporters. Deo formally joined the TDP in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu at an event in Amaravati.
Chandrababu Naidu welcomed Deo and other leaders from Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts into the TDP and said this would further strengthen the party in north coastal Andhra.
Deo, a five-time Lok Sabha member and one-time Rajya Sabha member, had called on Naidu earlier this month to convey his decision to join the TDP. He said he joined the TDP in the larger interest of the state and the nation.
Deo, who was Minister for Tribal Welfare and Panchayat Raj in the Manmohan Singh government from 2011 to 2014, is likely to get a TDP ticket to contest from the Araku Lok Sabha seat. He, however, said his decision to join the TDP was unconditional.
One of the key politicians from north coastal Andhra, Deo had also served as Minister of State for Steel, Mines and Coal in the Charan Singh Government (1979-80).
Just earlier this week, Naidu announced TDP candidates for five assembly constituencies in Kadapa district. Holding consultations with party leaders from each parliamentary constituency, Naidu is finalising the candidates for Assembly segments falling under it.
Nallari Kishan Kumar Reddy, brother of former Chief Minister and Congress leader Kiran Kumar Reddy, will contest from Pileru constituency. TDP MP from Chittoor N. Siva Prasad's son-in-law Narasimha Prasad will be the party candidate from Railway Koduru. Anusha Reddy has been named as the candidate from Punganur. The other candidates are B. Chengalrayudu (Rajampet) and Ramesh Reddy (Rayachoti).
Simultaneous elections to Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Lok Sabha are due in April-May. As the polls get closer, politics in the state is also getting heated, with several politicians defecting to parties where they are more likely to get a ticket.
At least six prominent political leaders have jumped ship to opposition parties in Andhra in the last month alone.