Congress to focus on agriculture, employment to challenge BJP

New Delhi: Ahead of polls in some states and the 2019 general elections, the Congress has decided to up the ante over issues related to agriculture, employment and poverty as it prepares to take on the ruling BJP, party sources said.

For The Grand Old Party’s plenary session, to be held between March 16 and March 18 in the national capital, a separate resolution will be passed on issues related to agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation.

During the last plenary session in 2010, agrarian and employment issues were part of the economic resolution.

The Congress has also formed a nine-member sub-group on ‘agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation’ under the chairmanship of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Party leader Meenakshi Natarajan is the convener of the sub-group.

“Farmers are under distress in the country currently. Given that the agrarian crisis has deepened, it warrants passage of a separate resolution that will guide the party’s future activities on this line,” a senior leader said, requesting anonymity.

This, however, is not the first time that the party will have a separate resolution on agrarian and employment-related issues. The leader added that the Congress had passed a similar resolution in 2001.

“We had taken enough measures to see these problems do not surface when we were in power (till 2014). The situation was better when we had the last plenary session,” the leader claimed.

Another party insider said the issues of employment and poverty alleviation have become “acute” over the past three years.

“The economy has been paralysed due to the government’s double blow of demonetisation and GST. We will have to reach out to the people on the issues,” the insider added.

The leader said that the party has already started reaching out to the youth and first-time voters on issues concerning them, including that of employment.

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