Senior Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said on Friday that the party’s minimum income guarantee scheme promise and the entry of Priyanka Gandhi in politics should have been timed earlier to reach out to more people ahead of the elections, The Indian Express reported.
In an interview to the daily, Nath credited the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election machinery for the party’s success in the Lok Sabha elections. “The message of Modi and the agenda of the BJP were delivered all across well in time by his people,” he said. “But our message did not reach the people effectively. RSS workers were moving around the state six months before the elections.”
Nath’s son, Nakul Kamal Nath, is the lone Congress MP-elect from Madhya Pradesh.
When asked why the minimum income scheme Nyuntam Aay Yojana or NYAY and farm loan waivers in his state did not resonate with the voters, Nath said the schemes should have started earlier. “All this came in too late,” he said. “And the problem was that people mixed up the ‘NYAY’ campaign with justice while the campaign actually meant to go beyond that.” Under the NYAY scheme, the Congress had promised that the poorest 20% families of the country will get an income support of Rs 72,000 per annum.
Nath also expressed confidence in Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, saying he will remain the party leader.
Nath said Priyanka Gandhi should have entered politics earlier as well. “She should have got far more exposure during the campaign and come into it much, much earlier,” Nath told The Indian Express. Gandhi was appointed Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East region in January, just three months ahead of elections.
On Pragya Singh Thakur’s victory against former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh in Bhopal, Nath said: “It was just Hindutva, nothing else. Once people decide they are voting as Hindus they forget everything else.”
‘Can’t write off Congress in Delhi’: Sheila Dikshit
Congress Delhi unit chief and former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said there was “no chance of writing off the Congress from Delhi politics”, reported Hindustan Times on Saturday. Dikshit was defeated by BJP’s Manoj Tiwari in North East Delhi constituency by more than 3.6 lakh votes. The Congress did not win a single seat in Delhi.
“The margins of loss have been very huge, which means something did not work,” she told the newspaper on Friday. “We will see what needs to be corrected.”
Responding to the Aam Aadmi Party writing off the Congress as contenders in Delhi, Dikshit said her party had too much history to ever be “wiped out” in any state. “How can a new party like AAP ever compare themselves with the Congress?” she asked. “We have a history of building the nation. This party has contributed to the independence struggle.”
Dikshit said she would work with party functionaries to strategise for the Assembly elections in Delhi, where the Congress would be in direct competition with the AAP. “When you go into a state election, you compete with the government of the day,” she said. “But what we can see is that the atmosphere that was there in favour of AAP has not gone up since.”
Assembly elections in the Capital are due by February 2020.