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After E Shinde, Ajit Pawar Admits Onion Role In Mahayuti’s Bitter Poll Show

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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar today acknowledged that discontent among onion growers over issues related to the kitchen staple, including low prices, played a major role in the dismal performance of the ruling ‘Mahayuti’ in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

He said the Shiv Sena-BJP-NCP alliance had to “pay the price” for discontent among farmers in the onion-growing belt of the state, including Nashik, where the ruling coalition fared poorly in the polls.

Mr Pawar’s statement came three days after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who heads the Shiv Sena, admitted farm distress cost the Mahayuti alliance dearly and added, “Onions made us cry in Nashik, soybean and cotton in Marathwada and Vidarbha (in polls).”

Talking to reporters in Pune, Ajit Pawar said they were constantly speaking about the need for support prices for onion, a politically sensitive commodity in the country, and said the interest of both farmers and consumers should be protected.

“During our visit to New Delhi, we apprised Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and Cooperation Minister Amitbhai Shah about (poll) losses (Mahayuti) faced due to onion. There was huge discontent among onion growers in the state and we had to pay the price for it in the Lok Sabha polls,” Mr Pawar noted.

He maintained the Mahayuti faced a beating in all Lok Sabha seats in the onion-growing belt barring Jalgaon and Raver.

A ban on onion export by the Centre in December last year to control retail prices and ensure domestic availability led to protests by farmers, especially in the Nashik belt. The ban, which led to a crash in onion prices, was eventually lifted in early May.

‘Mahayuti’ constituents BJP, the Shiv Sena, and the NCP won nine, seven, and one seat/s (total 17), respectively, in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra. On the other hand, the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), consisting of the Congress, the Shiv Sena (UBT), and the NCP (SP), bagged 30 of the 48 seats in the state.

The Shiv Sena and its ally BJP lost Nashik and Dindori Lok Sabha seats, respectively. The alliance could only win one seat in Marathwada and just two in Vidarbha.

 Ajit Pawar today acknowledged that discontent among onion growers over issues related to the kitchen staple, including low prices, played a major role in the dismal performance of the ruling ‘Mahayuti’ in the recent Lok Sabha polls.    

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