When the price of onion touched Rs 60 a kilo in 1998, the BJP paid heavily. It lost the Delhi Assembly elections to the Congress with a big margin.
With its prices soaring again, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now sees an opportunity to avenge its 15-year-old defeat.
To get political mileage, the BJP on Sunday sold onion for Rs 40 a kg. It was sold at R25 a kg in west Delhi’s Tilak Vihar, which was the site of clashes on August 15.
Not just the BJP, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is making its debut in the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi, too sold onion for Rs 40 a kg. To woo voters, Farhana Anjum, AAP’s “candidate-designate” from Ballimaran, organised special camps to sell the vegetable at lower rates across her constituency.
Incidentally, Delhi’s food and civil supplies minister Haroon Yusuf, whose department is responsible for ensuring that essential food commodities are available at reasonable prices, represents the Ballimaran Assembly constituency.
The Delhi government’s 150 mobile vans and the five counters put by Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs), however, sold onion for R50 a kg.
“It is our way to protest the government’s failure to control spiralling prices of the essential vegetable. When onion is available for Rs 35-Rs 40 a kg in wholesale market, why is the Congress government selling it for Rs 50? When we can sell it for Rs 40, the Congress government can also do the same,” said Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel who sold onions at the Town Hall on Sunday.
Goel said the government gets the weather forecast well in advance and also has production data of all vegetables and foodgrains. “The government could have easily prepared and controlled the export of onions. But this government has become insensitive towards the public,” Goel alleged.
The AAP leaders also said that the government was still letting the middlemen make profit when it could have easily sell onion at even lower rates.
“The government has done little to shield the aam aadmi from this inflation. If we can sell onions at such an affordable price, why can’t the Delhi government?” an AAP spokesperson asked.