PCC chief Botcha believes that preparation for the elections will take over two months

The government and the Congress leadership have different perceptions over the conduct of Panchayat Raj elections in April.

While the government is firm on holding the polls at the earliest, probably in the first week of April, State Congress president Botcha Satyanarayana said polls are unlikely to be held before May.

Mr. Satyanarayana said statutory processes like preparation of voters’ lists, calling for objections, submission of final list to the election authority, addressing issues related to reservations and identification of polling stations should be taken up before going for polling. “This could take more than two months,” he said in an informal chat on Thursday.

Jana too not sure

The APCC president, however, said the government was prepared to hold elections as and when the process was completed. Interestingly, Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy who made the announcement on local bodies’ elections a couple of days ago too was unsure about the possible time of conduct of the polls. “It could take one month or more. But we are committed to hold the elections,” he told reporters after meeting Mr. Satyanarayana.

Mr. Jana Reddy said the department would be asked to prepare a report considering all aspects, including the statutory process, but there would not be any change in the pattern of the contest without party symbols. “How can we change the set pattern? There is no scope for any apprehensions on conducting the polls on non-political basis,” he said.

Asked about the demand from the Opposition parties that elections be conducted on the basis of party symbols, he said no proposal had been received on the issue so far.