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Price rise, drought will be crucial issues

india Updated: Sep 06, 2009 02:21 IST

Hindustan Times
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Several issues will dominate the Assembly elections this year. However, rising food prices and drought are the two main issues that will remain the talking point. Monsoon has given an poor performance yet again and how the government tackles this particular issue is yet to be seen.

Cloud seeding and other measures have not yet produced the desired effect.

The poor monsoon has affected the prices of food grains and vegetables, which seem to be skyrocketing by the day. At this rate, the average middle class household will find it very difficult to make ends meet.

I can only imagine the plight of those living below the poverty line. The government has to take these two issues up on top priority and take some concrete action before it is too late.

Poor infrastructure and stalling of decisions on critical transport projects will also come up as critical issues. Our current infrastructure is unable to bear the multifold increase in population and at this rate it will crumble soon.

Trains are overflowing, buses are filled with people and roads are clogged with cars and other vehicles.

Implementation of critical projects like the Metro rail, trans-harbour link, sealink etc should be done quickly so that the load on other modes of public transport can be reduced. Frequent power cut problems also need to be resolved. Appropriate security measures must be addressed and discussed. Our transport systems and public places are still weak links and soft spots for terrorists.

Amidst all these problems, we must also keep an eye on the rising cases of suicides among farmers in Vidarbha, and the state must seek help from the Centre.

I have only covered the tip of the iceberg; there are a lot more issues that need to be looked into. The people of Maharashtra want to see a government in power which will transform words into quick actions.

It will be interesting to see the tactics that parties adopt to woo voters and to see who will make the final cut.

Abhishek Shenoy

Farm loan waivers haven’t helped

The state has been reeling under acute water scarcity. Scanty rainfall has severely hit the agricultural sector.

Drought relief measures have proved to be ineffective, as irrigation schemes have almost been neglected. Despite loan-waiver schemes, farmers are still in agony, as cultivation does not yield any sustainable returns. Their plight has not been addressed adequately.

The spiralling prices of essential items like food grains and vegetables will be the main plank for the opposition to criticise the ruling party.

Power cut is another issue, which will be seriously considered by the electorate. Except Mumbai, all other parts of the state are facing load-shedding for one hour to eight hours a day.

Poll promises are identical, whether from the ruling party or the opposition.

What is needed is positive action by those in power to ease out hardships of large sections of the society.

NV Unnithan


Fragile Cong-NCP combo may collapse

The issue that is likely to dominate the Assembly elections is the slender chord that is supposed to bind together the NCP, a breakaway faction of the parent body and the Congress.

Their marriage of compulsion has always been a fragile one that has threatened to collapse many times in the past, with either side scrambling for the advantage any time it gets half a chance.

The plight of the Vidarbha farmers who are still driven to end their lives, the volatile issue of migrants and the unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities — not to mention the serious lapses in our security that were responsible for the 26/11 attacks — will all have a tremendous ‘poll presence’.

Dr V Subramanyan

Development will be the core issue of the Assembly elections this year promise to be close and tricky. A wide and diverse range of issues is expected to dominate the elections.

Following the terrorist attack last year, security is one major issue that is expected to be raised. Another issue is going to be the rights of the Marathi manoos. Regional parties are sure to raise this issue in a big way.

One also cannot forget price rise, as it has been part of the election manifestoes of most parties — especially the regional ones.

But the core issue, which is likely to rise above all the others, is that of development. It will be on everyone’s mind, political parties and voters alike.

I just hope whichever party comes into power, works for the overall development of the state.

Tushar Subramaniam

Price rise hurting common man

Rise in prices of essential commodities will be the main issue in the state Assembly elections. The inflation figures released by the government, which say that inflation has dipped, is nothing but utter nonsense.

The market reality is totally different as prices of all essential items are increasing. The common man is struggling and finding it difficult to survive. The state has completely failed in curbing the rising prices.

Opposition parties are not going to leave this chance of slamming the state’s inefficiency on this issue. People are fed up with the government’s faulty policies and false promises. If prices do not come down soon it is doubtful if the Congress-NCP combine will return to power.

Bhagwan Thadani

Assurances from Govt needed

The issues that are likely to gain greater significance than others during the poll campaign are these: drought, inflation, collapsing infrastructure, Vidarbha and terrorism.

Two-thirds of the state is facing a drought this year because of the shortage of rainfall. This has resulted in acute water shortage.

Drought in Vidarbha is driving farmers to a state of extreme misery. The fields are parched due to shoddy implementation of water management programmes.

The weak monsoon could stoke inflation and suppress future growth. Prices of all essential commodities, including rice and tur dal, have shot up as compared to last year.

The state government’s commitment towards building excellent infrastructure, including bridges, railway tracks and roads, seems to be fading with each passing day. And while Shanghai continues its journey into the future, Mumbai seems to be lagging behind.

The issue of tackling terrorism too is important, according to me. Two top hotels — Taj and Trident-Oberoi — and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus were targeted during the four-day siege in November 2008.

The state government needs to give an assurance to the people that more attacks like these will be avoided at all costs.

Nilesh Raje