Ranchi: At a time when the price of onions in the country has crossed the century mark, it is leaving the BJP teary-eyed in the election season.
As Jharkhand Assembly polls have begun, the BJP fears that rising onion prices may affect its ambition of coming back in power, especially at a time when it is already dealing with the Maharashtra political debacle and a floundering economy.
A Jharkhand BJP leader told The Indian Express: “After what happened in Maharashtra, the party is in desperate need of an impressive victory to regain its image. Workers across the country, especially those gearing up for the elections in Delhi and Bihar, want a morale booster.
However, the bad news on the economic front — falling GDP, dwindling job prospects and general gloom — has hit us already. If onion prices remain high, it will certainly hurt us in the elections.”
As per the data available on the portal of the National Horticulture Board (NHB), the average price of onions in Ranchi in November this year was Rs 5,533 per quintal which is three times more than the rate that was recorded in the same period last year. In November 2018 it was Rs 1,610. The picture in the retail market is no different. It was recorded at Rs 6,967 per quintal compared to Rs 2,335 per quintal in November 2018.
The BJP is fighting a tough Opposition alliance this time in the five-phase Jharkhand Assembly elections, that started on Saturday. The Jharkhand BJP has levelled-up the poll preparation to prevent the repeat of the recently concluded Maharashtra Assembly polls. Like Maharashtra, in Jharkhand too, the BJP has lost its allies.
The All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU), which was in the ruling coalition with the BJP, and other allies like the JD(U) and Lok Janshakti Party, are fighting separately. The Opposition Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rashtriya Janata Dal have formed a pre-poll alliance.
BJP is yet again relying on the Modi wave and welfare steps taken by the Raghubar Das government. In 1998, BJP lost the Delhi Assembly elections and it was attributed to sharp rise in prices of onion. It shoots up to a then-record Rs 60 per kg. The government’s attempts to increase supply through imports too failed and helped Congress' win.