Across these regions, where mitigation measures to tackle a grave water and fodder scarcity had barely begun during the election campaign, BJP leaders had run a campaign almost entirely on issues of national security, the Pulwama attack and the Balakot airstrike.
“We must do something. See, how prices of groundnut, cotton, and onion we produce have gone down,” a 45-year-old sharecropper says, adding that the market price of onions, “around Rs 250 per quintal may not even cover my transportation expense”.
Rahul Gandhi has also said the Congress' soon-to-be-released manifesto will lay major thrust on jobs creation, addressing agrarian distress and strengthening the education and health sectors, besides charting a roadmap to boost economic growth.
Agrarian crisis is an opportunity, for the government that assumes office after elections, to enact a law giving farmers the right to sell any quantity of their produce to anybody, anywhere and at any time.
Since for the farmer, it is not mere output but income (output multiplied by price) that matters, growth in nominal agricultural GVA being at low single-digits isn’t good news. Nor would it be so for any ruling party ahead of elections.
"It was felt that the BJP's defeat in the recent state elections might force it to take some concrete steps in the budget on these issues. Sadly, it hasn't happened and has disappointed farmers again," said Ajit Nawale, Maharashtra general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).
"During drought, the government can employ the services of agriculture workers for water conservation and tree plantation works for the next five months under MNEREGA. The Centre and state are working closely to find solutions to this vexed problem," says Maharashtra Agriculture Price Commission chairman.