The great Onion Crisis of Delhi

09 Dec

I remember the onion crisis of 1998 that was the key trigger for BJP’s historic loss (after 3 terms in power) in Delhi assembly election and that resulted in a victory of INC led by Sheila Dixit. 15 years down the line, the people of Delhi had the same problem – soaring onion prices. Infact, it was not the first time in 1998 that the onion prices soared so high. We should remember that in 1980, Indira Gandhi capitalised on the onion price touching Rs.5 under Charan Singh’s caretaker regime.

This clearly shows that our politicians are very bad at learning lessons from history. If they did, then we would have seen a different result in Delhi. Successive governments in Delhi and other states have failed to realize the fact that that the onion crisis is purely man-made and a result of Government ineptitude. Governments have always tried quick-fixes to temporarily contain the prices instead of fixing the issue permanently.

‘India Today’ magazine ran a very interesting cover story in their Nov’1998 edition with a title “Where have all the onions gone”. The cover pic showed an onion falling down from the word “gone”. This cover story and the image have remained in my memory till now. In 1998, BJP accused the congress party of encouraging hoarders. And now in 2013, Congress has accused BJP of encouraging hoarders. The key point is – neither BJP nor Congress took concrete measures to fix the problem of hoarding as they found these hoarding tactics very suitable to further their political agenda.

Both BJP and Congress failed to make the fact clear whether the Government should be blamed for skyrocketing prices of onions or are the shortages real? If the shortage was real, there is no clarity in the steps taken by government to address the issue.

If you read this cover story of India today,, you will understand that nothing much has changed since 1998. We are still plagued by the same problems we had in 1998. We still get the same excuses by government and officials for the soaring prices and shortage in supplies.

When people elect a government, they expect the government to solve their problems and create long-term solutions for larger public good. And I guess Sheila Dixit failed in creating a solution for the basic problems faced by majority. And hence the disastrous loss for the Congress in Delhi.

There is no denying that Sheila Dixit has contributed to the development of Delhi in terms of Metro or other amenities. But she failed to understand that a common man cares more about soaring prices of commodities than the rising sky scrappers and flyovers.

What remains to be seen is: Will the party that forms a government in Delhi learn its lessons or will it continue to make the same mistakes and crumble over a period of time? Only Time can answer this question.

As always, hoping for the best, being a common man 🙂

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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Elections Related


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