By Nivedita Singh
New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) Onion is not just another kitchen staple in the country but has mercilessly brought down governments whenever its price soared, however, this time with the Delhi Assembly elections approaching, the ruling AAP is not haunted by the skyrocketing price of the bulb.
Be it the Delhi assembly polls of 1998, when the BJP was thrown out of power, or the general elections of 2014, which kicked Congress out of the power, or the 1980 Lok Sabha polls, which helped the Congress regain the power after losing to Janata Party for the first time in 1977, messing up with onion has never gone in the favour of the ruling party in the country.
In 1998, even the late Sushma Swaraj could not save the BJP from the wrath of the price rise and late Sheila Dikshit came to power, unstopped until 2013, when again the price of onion played a role in the elections along with several other issues and the AAP stormed to power.
Delhi is goinmg to polls again on February 8, this time too the onion price has been over Rs 100 since October 2019 and it was even sold at around Rs 200 per kg. While as of date, the price has come down, however, it is still more than the usual rate of onion during this time of the year. Onion in Delhi market is being sold between Rs 50 and Rs 80 per kilogramme.
Now, after two-terms, including the 49-day government in 2013, the AAP is aiming for a hat-trick, but it is not haunted by the skyrocketing price of the onions.
According to Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, there is nothing to fear.
“People are angry from the BJP for inflation. This time it is not just onion, but overall the cost of vegetables has gone up and people are aware it is happening because of the wrong policies of the Centre,” Sisodia told IANS.
Citing the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data, Sisodia added that the latest report shows that it has become difficult for the common man to sustain even basic household expenses.
“This is BJP’s gift to people in the last six years, with data clearly showing that inflation is at its highest in six years. Prices have been constantly rising since the BJP came to power, with inflation increasing from 2.1 per cent to 7.4 per cent, in just one year and the prices of vegetables have increased by 60 per cent across the nation in just one year,” Sisodia said.
On being asked if he is confident that there will be no negative impact of the price rise, he said “yes” and added that while the Centre’s policies are giving inflation, his government and its policies are working to provide relief to the people.
The Delhi Finance Minister, Sisodia continued: “AAP’s schemes of free education, health, electricity, water and transport are helping the people have more money in pocket.”
Delhi Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai said people are aware that it is the Delhi government which is selling onion at a subsidized rates.
“People are happy with AAP as we ensured that the subsidized onion reach each and every lane of the city and so we started selling the onion on the mobile vans. If there is anyone responsible for the onion price rise, it is the Centre,” Rai told IANS.
AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh too blamed the BJP for the price rise.
“The price of onion went so high because of the Centre’s failed policies. It is because of them that 32,000 tonnes of onions were left to rot at godowns and Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had no idea. People will give answers to those who let the onion rot in the godowns and kept it away from people’s plate,” Singh told IANS.
However, only the final result, to be out on February 11, can tell if the high price of onion continues to harm the party in power or Delhi will set a new trend.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at [email protected])