Who’ll Fix Onion Price Hike Now That Our Netas Are ‘Vegetarians’?

Onions can make anyone break into tears; either through price hike or as a symbol of failure in politics.

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I don’t consume much garlic and onion. So, don’t worry. I belong to a family where no one eats onions.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister

Maybe while saying this, Nirmala ji forgot that whether or not one eats onions, it can make anyone break into tears; either when cut into pieces, through price hike, or as a symbol of failure in politics.

Union Minister Ashwini Choubey said that, “I am vegetarian. How would I know the price of onion?”Another BJP MP Vijendra Mast said that, “ a truck full of onions are available in my constituency at Rs 25 per kg.”

If such arguments are being put forth, we can also raise questions on leaders who travel in cars, saying how can there be a slowdown in the auto sector? Even GDP can now turn around and question, that you as the government, rose to power in my name then, how are you letting me fall?

If there are so many issues with onions, then people growing onions, selling onions and eating them, would definitely ask janab aise kaise?


How Onions Bring Down Governments

Before we address how onions can make one cry, let me explain the influence of onions in politics – which has ruined the “taste” of several governments.  We can get an estimate of its power from the fact that Janata Party faced defeat in Lok Sabha elections due to an onion price hike in 1980. At the time, Indira Gandhi sitting in the opposition made the onion price hike an election issue.

BJP lost in Delhi in 1998. The onion price rise had become such a big issue, that it even made headlines in The New York Times. During that time, BJP was in power in both Centre and in Delhi. However, right before the Delhi Assembly elections, the issue of onion price hike spread like fire and became the reason behind Sushma Swaraj's loss.

Now, let’s address the actual shortage of onions. Onions are more expensive than apple. Their cost varies from Rs 120 to Rs 130.  Lalu Yadav has also said that onions are costlier than pomegranate.

Now, that the price of onions has even left the dollar behind, the government has finally reacted. The situation is such that onions are now going to be imported from Turkey – the same country which has cornered India over Kashmir.

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on 1 December said that the government is importing onions weighing 11,000 tons from Turkey.

These onions would be available from December-end to January-beginning. Now, tears would be shed not just while cutting onions but buying them too. In fact, onions are being imported from Egypt & Afghanistan.


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has explained all the measures taken by the government to curb the onion price hike.

There are several structural issues related to the storage of onions and the government is taking measures to address them.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister

The question here is, why does the government only try to find solutions when the situation goes out of hand. Every once in two years, we end up in a situation where we have no choice but to import onions.

Why do we have to rely only on Karnataka and Maharashtra for onions? Why are middlemen not dealt with? Why wasn’t hoarding by traders monitored? Why thousands of crops were allowed to go bad? Why is the storage capacity so poor in India? Why does the government not prepare itself in advance?

Now, if India is forced to eat breakfast for dinner, then how will India become healthy? If this will happen, we all will certainly ask janab aise kaise?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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