The Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ], which has already weakened considerably in Andhra Pradesh, today suffered a major blow with a Telugu film star and former union minister of state Krishnam Raju quitting the party and joining Chiranjeevi's [ Images ] Praja Rajyam.
He is the senior-most film personality to join PRP after it was launched by superstar Chiranjeevi in August last.
Krishnamraju, who was elected to Parliament in 1998 and 1999 from Narsapuram Lok Sabha constituency of West Godavari district and had become the minister of state for foreign affairs in AB Vajpayee's government.
Welcoming formally to the PRP, Chiranjeevi hoped that Krishnamraju's joining will further strengthen the party.
"You have brought loads of glamour to the party", he told Krishnamraju, who is popularly called "Rebel Star" among Telugu film goers.
Krishnamraju quitting the BJP was in the air for quiet some time as he was staying away from the party programs and meetings. A couple of weeks ago there were speculations that he may join Congress party. But after Congress party announced that K Bapi Raju will be its candidate from Narsapuram Lok Sabha constituency, Krishnamraju decided to join the PRP.
According to informed sources in PRP, the party will field him from Narsapuram, a stronghold of Kshatriyas.
Krishnamraju said that he was attracted to PRP by its policies, programmes and goals.
"Since Chiranjeevi entered politics I was watching him. He came in to politics to serve the people and not for the sake of money. If he needed money he could have made another film and earned crores of rupees," he said.
He also lauded Chiranjeevi for his hard work. "It takes years to become a leader but Chiranjeevi has become a strong leader in very short span of time", he said.
Krishnamraju, 69, worked in 183 films in his career spanning over four decades. Interestingly he was born in the same Mogalturu village, where Chiranjeevi was born many years later. His last film was Ram in 2006 and a new film "Billa" is set for release.
Meanwhile many more prominent personalities were likely to join the PRP over the next few days. They include another film star Srihari and retired IPS officer D T Nayak.