With the Supreme Court in an interim order on Monday giving a green signal to hold Panchayat Raj elections, the Congress government seems to be clearly caught in a dilemma whether to go ahead or find yet another ruse to put off the polls.

On the face of it, the ruling party leaders, including PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana, have whole-heartedly welcomed the apex court order, but many of them have their own apprehensions with party men at all levels either crossing over to the YSR Congress in Seemandhra or to the TRS in Telangana. The party’s grassroots level base is all but shaky.

Fraught with danger

Given the vulnerability of the party, many leaders felt conducting elections now was fraught with dangers.

A dismal performance will have far-reaching results for general elections next year and trigger further desertions.

“What will happen if the results go against us? Impressive performance in cooperative polls should not be the yardstick. It was restricted to certain groups and areas and did not have wider canvas like the 21,000 odd panchayats now where the results could be totally different,” a senior MLC remarked.

Yet, there are other Congress leaders who feel the elections would enable the party to take stock of the situation where the party stands.

The good showing in the cooperative polls could be repeated as the party workers were now in election mode, these leaders contend.

In panchayat elections, they see an opportunity in identifying the fence-sitters. “For how long can there be uncertainty about the suspect loyalties? Some day, we have to face it,. They will give us a clear idea about who the real Congressmen are,” a senior PCC functionary said.

Congress leader J.C. Diwakar Reddy feels local bodies elections would enable the government to publicise its good programmes.

“The Congress has several groups. If all the groups work in unity, the party is bound to get good results. The onus is on the Chief Minister and the PCC president to bring all the groups on to the same plank,” he said.