Maharashtra’s onion belt rejects Mahayuti candidates  - Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra’s onion belt rejects Mahayuti candidates 

Jun 06, 2024 06:06 AM IST

Mahayuti candidates contesting from all these parliamentary seats suffered defeat with the Maha Vikas Aghade (MVA) wresting most of the seats

One of the attributes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Mahayuti’s below-par performance in the 2024 general elections in Maharashtra is their dismal showing in the onion-growing belt between Shirur, Nashik, Dindori, Ahmednagar, Shirdi, and Solapur.  

In Ahmednagar too, Nilesh Lanke of NCP (SP) defeated BJP’s Sujay Vikhe by a margin of 28,000 votes. (HT PHOTO)
In Ahmednagar too, Nilesh Lanke of NCP (SP) defeated BJP’s Sujay Vikhe by a margin of 28,000 votes. (HT PHOTO)

Mahayuti candidates contesting from all these parliamentary seats suffered defeat with the Maha Vikas Aghade (MVA) wresting most of the seats. 

Nashik and neighbouring Ahmednagar and Pune are large onion producers, with other areas from Solapur, and Sambhajinagar also partially growing the kitchen staple. The plight of onion growers along with traders was at the centre stage of the poll campaign during Lok Sabha elections in all these constituencies. 

BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis conceded that the onion issue adversely affected some Mahayuti candidates in Maharashtra. 

“In some Lok Sabha constituencies, we faced anger from farmers. The onion issue was one of the issues. At the same time, in parts of Vidarbha, farmers were unhappy over the rates of Soyabean and cotton, which reflected in the result,” Fadnavis said on Wednesday while speaking in Mumbai. 

Bharti Pawar, the minister of state for health, suffered a loss at the hands of Bhaskar Bhagare of the NCP (SP) in the Dindori constituency. Bhagare managed to get a lead of 1.13 lakh votes over Pawar, whose constituency had witnessed maximum protests from onion growers as most large wholesale markets such as Lasalgaon, Niphad, Pimpalgaon, Kalwan fall under Dindori. 

Pawar recognised the anger among onion growers as one of the reasons for her loss.   

“Farmers were indeed unhappy over the onion issue even as our government tried to take necessary steps,” she stated. 

In Nashik Lok Sabha constituency, Shiv Sena’s Hemant Godse was defeated by MVA’s Rajabhau Waje by 1.62 lakh votes. 

In the Shirur Lok Sabha constituency under the Pune district, MVA candidate Amol Kolhe won against the NCP candidate Shivajirao Adhalrao. Kolhe during his campaign constantly raised onion issue, saying the Centre’s decision to ban exports has hurt the farmers. 

Kolhe stated, “The government’s policies were unjust and anti-farmer. We addressed this matter, which eventually compelled the Centre to take some action, but it was too late and halfhearted.” 

In Ahmednagar too, Nilesh Lanke of NCP (SP) defeated BJP’s Sujay Vikhe by a margin of 28,000 votes while in Shirdi, Bhausaheb Wakchoure of Shiv Sena (UBT) defeated Sadashiv Lokhande of Shiv Sena by 50,000 votes. In Solapur, Praniti Shinde won by a margin of 74000 votes over Ram Satpute of the BJP. 

As the central government banned onion exports months before the elections were announced, farmers were miffed as the crop prices dropped.  

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP realised that the farmers were against the government’s onion policy, the Centre subsequently lifted the ban partially when elections were in progress even as it retained export duty which ultimately did not help farmers get good prices. 

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