Onion price slump adds to farm distress, sharpens Modi's election stakes

A growing disenchantment with the faltering profitability of farming has emerged as a political variable. But how much of a risk does it pose to the government?


Onion prices have a long and layered relationship with Indian politics, having played a role in shaping election results since 1980. Usually governments squirm (and opposition parties rejoice) when the price of the staple is too high for consumers; this time around — with a few state poll results due Tuesday and general elections around the corner — the problem is the opposite: Prices received by onion farmers are distressingly low. A grower in Maharashtra recently made news when he sent all the money he received for his produce – a paltry 1,064 rupees for ...