Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Sep 19: Activists in Bhopal protested on Thursday against the rise in price of onions.
They burnt an effigy of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, while blaming him for the shortage of onions and corruption.
A sharp spike in the price of onions brought tears to the eyes of people as the onions are costing nearly 300 percent more this month than the same month last year and untamed rise of the vegetable, a staple ingredient in many Indian dishes, can anger voters and quickly become a political issue.
India is due to hold its general election within eight months.
Food inflation accelerated to a three-year high of 18.18 percent in August, government data released on Monday (Sep mber 17) showed, driving overall inflation to a higher-than-expected 6.1 percent.
An activist, Aditya Ragunath criticised Pawar for the prevailing crisis and demanded his resignation.
“Onion is an essential part of the platter of a common man. You can understand that if one has to struggle so much to get onion, then what would be the scenario about other essential commodities. We are protesting and demanding Sharad Pawar’s resignation as he is responsible for spreading corruption in the past as well as in the present and he is minting money ahead of the upcoming polls by acting like a middleman,” said Ragunath.
Protesters gathered together and demonstrated and burnt an effigy of Pawar as they shouted slogans denouncing him and his corrupt practices.
Onions were being sold for Rupees 70 to Rs. 80 per kilogram, a sharp rise from the recent prices that were at 60 per kilograms.
Late planting and disruptions in supplies of vegetables and onions due to heavy summer rains have stoked food inflation.
Farmers are expecting food prices to start moderating from October onwards as supplies rise from crops planted after the much better monsoon season. However, heavy rainfall has resulted in flooding in some areas of the country making it difficult to get produce to market.
More price pressure could come in the form of a government plan to hike retail fuel prices by nearly 10 percent to ease its oil subsidy burden, which has risen after the rupee’s fall and on higher crude prices. (ANI)