New Delhi, Aug 20: Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi, who had merged his Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress sometime back, today formally joined the party and hailed Rahul Gandhi as the country's “ray of hope” and future prime minister.
Chiranjeevi, who led the PRP in Andhra Pradesh, filled up a form seeking primary membership of the Congress at a function at the AICC headquarters in the presence of Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders.
“I will remain in the Congress for the rest of my life. I will be a loyal worker...I thank Rahulji, our Prime Minister of the future,” the actor said.
Describing Gandhi as the “future” and the “ray of hope” for the country, Chiranjeevi said the AICC general secretary has inherited the “qualities and passion” of his father Rajiv Gandhi whose birth anniversary is being celebrated today.
The actor said he was joining the Congress as party chief Sonia Gandhi has got a lot of affection and love for him. Suggesting that he was missing Gandhi, who is recuperating after a surgery abroad, he said,”I am not that lucky. I pray for her speedy recovery.”
AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is in charge of the party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, hailed the development saying Chiranjeevi is a superstar whose joining the party will strengthen the Congress, especially in southern India.
Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy, AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi and political secretary to Congress President Ahmad Patel were also present.
PRP, which was launched in August, 2008, has 18 MLAs in the 294-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly. The actor is considered to wield influence in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, but has only negligible presence in the Telangana area where a strong separatist movement is on.
Chiranjeevi was earlier scheduled to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi between August 7 and 10, to formally take primary membership of Congress. However, since Gandhi is recovering from a surgery in the US, the PRP chief joined the Congress in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. PTI