Smarting from Lok Sabha poll debacle, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan is eliciting views of legislators about what went wrong and has been told the party could avoid meeting a similar fate in the Assembly polls if it takes decision on pending demands like quotas for Muslims.
Congress legislators from Mumbai, who met Chavan over the past two days with feedback, have also stressed the need for launching an agressive campaign on social media, which was utilised by BJP and Narendra Modi with great success. Congress faced an unprecedented rout in the state in the Lok Sabha elections, winning only two of the 27 seats it contested.
A senior minister said Chavan would meet party MLAs region-wise before chalking out strategy for Assembly polls. Party sources said the MLAs told the chief minister that perception about weak leadership, inflation and corruption scandals led to the party's wash-out in the Lok Sabha polls. "Narendra Modi could reach each and every household through social media and television," an MLA said. "I told the Chief Minister that the feedback I got was I would win the Assembly election as an independent, but would lose if I contest on Congress ticket. I said we have to plan our media campaign to highlight the achievements of the government on a massive scale and also work on the social media content," another MLA said.
Sources said that decisions on demands such as ten per cent reservations for Muslims in educational institutions would have an immediate impact. "The academic year would start this month and decision on reservations would send out a good message among the voters," a Congress leader said.
In Mumbai, the party trailed in all the Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha elections, barring Mumbadevi and Byculla.
A decision on cluster development policy could improve the party's prospects in Mumbai, some MLAs said. "It (the Assembly election) is difficult due to anti-incumbency after 15 years (of Congress-NCP rule), but not impossible if we get our act together," said a minister.