NEW DELHI: The Congress has failed to capitalise 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 polls scheduled later this year.
Elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana are due around October and the party feels that the Assembly elections will be fought on issues directly impacting the people, unlike Lok Sabha elections where nationalism and image of PM 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 firm up their campaign strategies accordingly. This was agreed upon following meetings with party leaders from the respective states and top leadership.
“These issues have been bothering people across the country and we will focus on them when we reach out to people as part of the campaign. Unemployment and farm unrest 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 the 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, the 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. “The Assembly polls are different from general elections as these will be fought on local issues,” said a leader from Maharashtra.