In a major political development, Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy, the last Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh, joined back the Congress in the presence of party President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Friday.
Kiran flew to New Delhi and met with Rahul at the latter's Tughlak Lane residence.
He rejoined the party in the presence of his followers and senior leaders like Raghuveera Reddy, the head of the Congress unit in the state, and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Chandy was recently made in-charge of the party in Andhra Pradesh and met with Kiran at his Hyderabad residence on July 1 and spent close to an hour holding talks with him.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Chandy had said, "The Congress stand is clear and everybody knows it well. Those who left the party will come back to the party. This is a crucial time not only for the Congress, but also for the country. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is trying to unite all secular and democratic forces to fight against the present government. We welcome all the leaders and workers who left the party."
This had followed meetings between Kiran and senior Congress leaders such as T Subbirami Reddy and former Union Minister Pallam Raju. The leaders also said that Kiran may be given a crucial role in national politics.
Kiran Kumar Reddy decided to exile himself from politics after the state was bifurcated against his will. As the Congress was determined to grant statehood to Telangana by carving it out of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, Kiran Kumar quit the party and launched his own partyâ€”Jai Samaikyandhra Party (JSP) in 2014, just months before the elections.
However, his decision to launch the party and contest the elections turned out to be a major debacle, as none of his party members could win a seat.
After the failed attempt, the senior leader went into a self-imposed political exile.
The Congress was also decimated as it failed to win even a single Assembly seat in residual Andhra Pradesh.
Kiran Kumar hails from Chittoor, and his return to the party might strengthen their presence in the district.
Meanwhile, the Congress has said that it will not tie up with any party for the state Assembly polls and the General Elections next year.
"The BJP and the TDP cheated the people of Andhra Pradesh on the issue of special status to the state. We have no intention to have an alliance with any of the parties. Our alliance is only with the people of the state," Chandy told reporters last month.