Congress leader Sachin Pilot today attacked the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over putting too much emphasis on citizenship issues at a time when the economy is "in a crisis".
"In Maharashtra, as you know, NCP (Nationalist Congress Party), Shiv Sena and Congress have a coalition government. In Jharkhand, we will have a Congress-JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) government. So I think the message from the people is very clear - that within six months of giving a huge mandate to the BJP and NDA (National Democratic Alliance) at the central level, things are not quite as they should have been," the Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister told reporters today.
"With the clear mandate that the BJP got in the Lok Sabha elections... the first thing that the government should have done is to refocus their attention on young people, on farmers' crisis. But they started focusing on things that were peripheral. I think the attempt was to do less with policy-making and more with politics," Mr Pilot said.
"The result has been that you have implemented or passed a legislation, which is being opposed almost everywhere in the country. It has changed the focus of attention from job creation to violence on campuses. Be it UP (Uttar Pradesh), Karnataka, Assam, you name it," Mr Pilot said.
Protests are going on across the country over the amended Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.
Mr Pilot's comments also came as the leads showed the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress alliance ahead with 49 seats in the race for Jharkhand, which has an 81-member assembly. The ruling BJP is behind at 21.
For the BJP, the results will be crucial. The party lost Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to Congress last year. This year, after its huge victory in the Lok Sabha election, Maharashtra slipped out of its grasp as it fell out with ally Shiv Sena over power sharing. Elections were conducted for Jharkhand in five phases from November 30 to December 20. In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, BJP had won 11 of 14 seats in the state.