A day after Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy expressed the government’s preparedness to conduct elections to Panchayat Raj institutions in the first week of April, APCC president Botcha Satyanarayana has decided to hold a meeting of senior leaders shortly to chalk out a strategy for sustaining the winning streak. The ruling party is keen on holding elections to local bodies as they are considered the ‘semi-finals’ in the run-up to the general elections next year.
There are concerns that in the absence of administrative machinery at the grassroot level, it would be difficult for the leaders and cadre to campaign about the Congress’ commitment to continue the spree of welfare schemes launched for all sections.
Topping these concerns is the financial compulsion as the funds earmarked by the Central Government for rural development activities would not be available in the absence of elected bodies.
Senior leaders, however, are worried that holding elections in April first week, considered the peak time for examinations, could pose other problems like availability of polling centres and hurdles for the participation of youth.
“Given this situation, it will be better if elections are held towards the end of April,” a senior AP Congress Committee functionary said. In the meantime, the Congress’ State leadership has directed the district level bodies to put in place party organisation at the village and mandal level with members drawn from the age group of not more than 45 years.
Letters to DCC chiefs
Mr. Satyanarayana has addressed letters to the DCC presidents and senior leaders to expedite the constitution of the panels so that the party is geared to face the elections whenever they are held. Mr. Satyanarayana has convened a meeting of the observers of cooperative elections deputed to different districts on Thursday to review the situation. The meeting follows the difficulties faced by the party in securing some of the DCCBs where the party is facing a problem with rebels.