The BJP is hoping that onions won’t make Dindori cry

Ganesh Kokane, near Lasalgaon, the center of the nation’s “onion bowl,” produces over 200 quintals of the staple food each year. In a prosperous economy, he might make a healthy profit by selling them at APMC Mandi for between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000 per quintal. This would cover his costs. But just as the crop was ready for harvest in November of last year, unseasonal rains caused devastation.Merely twenty-five quintals were all that he could rescue from his twenty-five acres.

Then, in the first week of December, the Center declared an export restriction on onions, leaving Kokane with little time to recover from the blow. “I had to liquidate my shares at a cost of Rs 1,000 per quintal. It was a dual blow,” Ganesh said.

Still, his experience was far from over.

Kokane was obliged to look for additional means of income as moneylenders increased their pressure on him. In the end, he worked as a laborer at the APMC.
“My situation is due to the Union government,” “It did not help improve the wholesale prices, even though it later lifted the embargo,” he added. He now receives a pitiful Rs 40 for transporting onions into dealers’ cars after they are unloaded from farmers’ tractors. He deals with ten to fifteen cars a day.

Kokane’s situation is not unique. In the Dindori LS seat, which includes the six assembly segments of Nandgaon, Kalwan, Yeola, Chandwad, Niphad, and Dindori, there are around 8 lakh voters who are either directly or indirectly involved in the production of onions. Among them, there is a tangible sense of distress and fury. This poll will close on May 20.

Bharati Pawar, a Union minister and BJP candidate, is the target of a lot of anger as she struggles to hold onto the seat the saffron party has controlled since 2009.
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Suhas Kande, a Shiv Sena MLA from Nandgaon, said Mahayuti leaders are exerting extra effort to quell farmers’ discontent. However, (Bhaskar) Bhagare’s win won’t in any way contribute to price stabilization. Mahayuti has a robust organisational structure, which by itself will guarantee Bharati Pawar’s triumph.
The NCP (SCP) candidate is Bhagare, a teacher. According to party sources, Sharad Pawar, their leader, chose him because of his popularity and clean reputation.

A BJP leader, who wished to remain anonymous, said that during their campaign visits to villages, farmers reject them. “We are highlighting the various Centre-run schemes, like the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, which gives marginal farmers Rs 6,000 a year, to appease them.”

Malwadi locals erected a sign in April asking the incumbent MP to refrain from visiting their community. “We were receiving between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 3,000 per quintal prior to the ban taking effect. Prices have now decreased, but the cost of gasoline and fertilizers has increased, according to Ganesh Ahire of Nandgaon Taluk.
A state Cabinet official acknowledged that onion producers are angry with Bharati Pawar but said, “The unseasonal rain severely hit the crop in Dindori.” There would have been severe shortages across the nation if the Center had not prohibited exports. That would have made things more difficult for NDA, particularly in cities.

The withdrawal of CPI(M) candidate Je eva Pandu Gavit from the contest has further cast doubt on the BJP’s campaign strategy. Gavit was fielded by the CPI(M) in 2019 and received over one lakh votes. Concerned that Gavit might replicate his act and steal anti-BJP votes, Sharad Pawar persuaded the CPI(M) hierarchy to remove him from the contest.

But according to Bharati Pawar, the opposition is misrepresenting farmers. ÔÇťOnion prices had dropped significantly multiple times when Sharad Pawar served as the Union Agriculture Minister under the UPA. However, she said, “the opposition is bringing up the issue because it’s election season.”

Prior to the 2019 elections, the BJP stole Bharati Pawar from the NCP by offering her the ticket rather than the then-MP Harischandra Chavan.

Four party MLAs defected to the NCP, the deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s side, which dealt a blow to political novice Bhagare. But he thinks that the fury of farmers would spur anti-BJP people to support him. The resentment among onion farmers makes it certain that my opponent will lose. At a campaign event, Bhagare said, “We are counting on Sharad Pawar’s popularity among the farmers, despite the fact that our MLAs have abandoned us.”

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