He was welcomed to the party fold by senior AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
AAP’s Karnataka unit convenor Prithvi Reddy, election in-charge for the state and Timarpur MLA Dilip Pandey, organisation secretary Damodaran and other leaders were present on the occasion at the party headquarters here.
Rao, who was serving as the Additional Director General of Police (Railways), had resigned from the service in September last year, citing personal reasons.
He demitted his office on Friday to join the AAP after the Karnataka government accepted his resignation and relieved him of his duties.
Rao’s joining is seen as a shot in the arm of the AAP with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party preparing for the Karnataka Assembly elections next year, starting with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (Greater Bengaluru Municipal Corporation) polls this year.
The party leaders believe that the popularity and clout of the former IPS officer would help the AAP better execute its expansion plan in the run up to the assembly elections in the state, currently ruled by the BJP.
The AAP had contested the Karnataka assembly polls for the first time in 2018, fielding candidates in 28 out of total 124 assembly seats, but could not open its account.
Riding high on its stupendous victory in Punjab, the party is hoping to gain its toehold in the southern state this time.
During his service, Rao held various positions and served as Bengaluru Police Commissioner, State Transport Commissioner and Additional Director General of Police (ADGP)-Internal Security.
He received the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2015, Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 2008 and United Nations Medal for the Services rendered in International Peacekeeping in a warzone in 2000.