NEW DELHI: The Congress failed to capitalize on issues of unemployment and farm distress in the country during the Lok Sabha elections but the party is likely to focus on these issues in the three state assembly elections scheduled later this year.
The elections to state assemblies of Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana are due around October this year and the party feels that state assembly elections will be fought on issues directly impacting the people, unlike Lok Sabha elections where nationalism and image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned out to be a major decider.
The party's central leadership has told leaders in the election-bound states to work on issues of unemployment, growing farm distress, drought and impact of GST on small traders and accordingly make their campaign strategies.
This was agreed upon following meetings with party leaders of respective states and top leadership.
"These issues have been bothering people across the country and we will be focusing on them when we reach out to people as part of the campaign. Unemployment and problems faced by farmers are core issues that the BJP government both at the centre and in these poll-bound states had failed to address," said a senior Congress functionary.
In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress did try to make BJP government's failure to generate employment and loss of jobs in various sectors as a major issue but it failed to effectively take it to masses.
The party leaders agree that the NYAY, the minimum income support scheme to ensure Rs 72,000 annual income to a poor family, didn't resonate on the ground. In the agriculture sector, Congress promised a separate Kisan budget and making farm loan default a civil offence to address the rising number of farmers' suicides but that also didn't get needed traction.
"We agree that these issues didn't get us votes. But the assembly elections are different from general elections as these will be fought on local issues rather than Modi factor. In Maharashtra, people are unhappy with the Devendra Fadnavis government and will raise BJP led government's failure in the state," said a leader from Maharashtra. End