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.
Chandrababu Naidu welcomed Deo and other leaders from Vijayanagaram 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).
Babu is the member of the Mahagathbandhan, an opposition consisting of all parties excluding the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
On Saturday, Telangana Rashtra Samithi president KT Rama Rao predicted Babu's loss in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He added that YSR Congress leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy become the next chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
"Naidu is dreaming of playing a key role at the Centre after the LS elections, but in reality, he will have no role to play even in his own state," KTR said during an informal chat with media.
He dismissed Naidu's allegations that Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao was asking leaders from AP to join the YSRC if they have properties in Hyderabad.
"Instead of making allegations against the neighbouring state's parties, the AP CM should tell the people of his state as to what development his government has done in the last five years," KTR was quoted as saying by The Times of India.