The merger of Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) with the Congress is being seen as a win-win situation by all major political parties in Andhra Pradesh, including the rival Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The merger is also set to change political equations in the state.
Chiranjeevi's supporters are confident that he will emerge as the political Hero Number One and will be the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress in 2014.
"It is not a dream. We are confident that he will definitely establish himself. Congress will realise that and will entrust responsibility on him to lead the Congress in Andhra Pradesh by 2014. He will be the face of state politics and be an asset to madam,'' said senior PRP leader K Vidyadhar Rao.
Though the Congress was keen to rope in Chiranjeevi and his MLAs to counter a possible threat to the state government from MLAs loyal to Jaganmohan Reddy, propping up the megastar may brew trouble within the state Congress.
The erstwhile PRP is hoping that Chiranjeevi will be able to capitalise on what they see as a political vacuum due to the lack of a charismatic leader in the Congress, not just in Andhra Pradesh but in South India.
Another party that sees reason to celebrate the PRP-Congress merger is the TDP, which hopes that the anti-Congress will no longer be split.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) also sees the PRP merger with the Congress as advantage Telangana.
"If the Congress wants to give Telangana, one hurdle has gone. One party propagating united Andhra Pradesh has gone now,'' said TRS leader K Chandrasekhara Rao.
Jaganmohan Reddy and Chiranjeevi are both seen to draw their strength from the coastal belt. The PRP's merger with the Congress could force Jagan to re-strategise. But for now, Jagan preferred to ignore the political development as he started his two-day 'padyatra' to Polavaram project.