Once onion price rise saw govts tumble; this time fall in price is threatening the leaders
New Delhi, Dec 29: Onion is known to be a political vegetable in India. In the past, rise in prices of onions saw governments tumble in India in the past at various levels. Now, the humble onion continues to pose a threat to the political rulers although this time, by the virtue of its falling price. The ruling BJP saw what the electorate is capable of in the three states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh recently and if a report in the Reuters is to go by, several impoverished farmers have warned that they will make Prime Minister Narendra Modi pay for the collapsing prices of the vegetable in the general elections scheduled in 2019.
Steep fall in prices of onions and potatoes in the recent times have badly hit the rural economy in a number of India's states and this, accompanied with the bigger agrarian issues, is bound to make it challenging for the saffron rulers in the next big election.
Reuters interviewed several farmers to see that they were too upset with the BJP for not helping support incomes in the rural belts. In a number of regions, the famers have already said that they are going to vote against the BJP in the next Lok Sabha election and not repeat the "mistake" of 2014.
Recently, a farmer in Maharashtra got around Rs 1,000 for 750 kilograms of onions and sent the money he fetched to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund as protest.
In 1980, Indira Gandhi returned to power after India's first non-Congress government lost the general election because of high onion prices (less than Rs 10 though!) while in 1998, the BJP government in Delhi tumbled because of a sharp rise in the prices of the vegetables. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj was the chief minister of Delhi then.
However, the consumers have not benefited from this fall in prices of onions since large cuts are taken by the middlemen.