Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Gangula Prathap Reddy is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a senior party said on Thursday.
Confirming the joining, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said Reddy is familiar with the party and its ideology.
"He was in BJP for a brief stint and the party is not new to him. He expressed his desire to be a part of the BJP. He is impressed with the leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and we feel that we can extensively use him in Andhra Pradesh. He is a mass leader and holds good clout in the Rayalaseema region," Rao told .
"Trust me, many more (leaders) are going to join us," he added.
Reddy had joined BJP in 2000 and was a member of the party's national council. He had also toured Andhra Pradesh extensively and became co-convener of Rashtriya Jal Sadhana Samithi.
The 68-year-old leader is a prized catch as he was once considered close to the Congress top leadership and had vacated his parliamentary seat, Nandyal, for the then PM PV Narasimha Rao, a senior BJP leader told .
BJP is aiming to expand its base in Andhra Pradesh as it feels that it is one of the states where expansion is possible in the next Lok Sabha polls.
Though the YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh is yet to be the principal opposition for BJP in the state, the party aims at quickly replacing the place of principle opposition in the state which is currently occupied by TDP, the
Earlier in June, four TDP MPs--YS Chowdary, C M Ramesh, T G Venkatesh from Andhra Pradesh, and G Mohan Rao from Telangana -- had joined BJP.
According to a senior party leader, Reddy hails from an agricultural family and was instrumental in Rayalaseema agitation. He went on hunger strike to get approval for projects like Telugu Ganga, KC modernisation and others. He was instrumental in getting broad gauge conversion from Guntakal to Guntur and approval for NH - 18.
From 1992 to 1998, Reddy was a Rajya Sabha member and he has served in various committees like communications, tourism and transport.
( With inputs from ANI )