Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party officials were gathering yesterday for talks on a general election due by May, with their deliberations overshadowed by the party's defeat at the polls in three heartland rural states.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the gathering, to be chaired by the party's president, Amit Shah, is a regular quarterly meeting but the losses in its stronghold states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, confirmed this week, are likely to dominate discussions.
Disgruntled voters blamed the slow pace of job creation and weak farm prices for the Hindu nationalist party's defeat in the states, two of which it ruled for three straight terms.
"We realise that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them," said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal, who will attend the meeting that starts in the afternoon and could be addressed by Modi.
"They will have to be tackled, and we will take suggestions from wherever needed."
Senior BJP minister Nitin Gadkari told the ET Now business channel yesterday that the agriculture sector may have been neglected under their government.
Agarwal said the party already had a strategy for the upcoming general election, which must be held by May, and it would hold another big gathering next month.