The Congress leaders are worried over the electoral fallout of Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor's alleged role in the IPL controversy.
Senior leaders, on conditions of anonymity, maintain that even if Mr. Tharoor were to survive the crisis, which has stalled Parliament proceedings, this would hardly come as a relief to the party in his home State of Kerala, where panchayat elections are round the corner.
They feared that the slogan coined by the CPI(M) that while the Congress was for the IPL, the CPI(M) stood for the BPL (below poverty line) was already having its impact and threatened to mar the party's image and stake in the panchayat elections.
Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Tharoor met party chief Sonia Gandhi, leaders underscored that none in the party was willing to walk that extra mile for him and that the final decision on his continuation in the Council of Ministers would be taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after his return on Saturday from his foreign tour.
Ahead of the Prime Minister's decision on the issue, Mr. Tharoor, who made a statement in the Lok Sabha seeking to clarify his role regarding the Kochi cricket team, suffered a setback with his senior Cabinet colleague Farooq Abdullah indirectly calling for his resignation.