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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 If you dont need farmers we dont need you

Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘If you don’t need farmers, we don’t need you’

Updated on: 09 May,2024 06:50 AM IST  |  Nashik
Rajendra B. Aklekar | rajendra.aklekar@mid-day.com

In Nashik’s onion belt village, giant hoarding in village chowk shows Lok Sabha candidates their aukat

Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘If you don’t need farmers, we don’t need you’

A hoarding that highlights the grievances of onion farmers at the Malwadi village square in Nashik, on Wednesday. Pic/Ashish Raje

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The residents of the Malwadi hamlet in Nashik have decided to boycott elections, with locals putting up a gigantic hoarding in the village square, asking Lok Sabha candidates on the campaign trail to go back if they are not keen on solving the onion crisis.


When mid-day visited the village, scores of farmers expressed harsh sentiments about the onion issue but were unwilling to share their names due to fear of politicians.



A hoarding that highlights the grievances of onion farmers at the Malwadi village square in Nashik on Wednesday. Pic/Ashish RajeA hoarding that highlights the grievances of onion farmers at the Malwadi village square in Nashik on Wednesday. Pic/Ashish Raje


“The onion issue is the heart and soul of Nashik district. We have been suffering and pushed into poverty. If politicians do not need farmers, we do not need them. We are angry and protesting by boycotting elections. Hence, we put up the huge hoarding in the square at the entry point of the village,” a resident said.

Translated from Marathi, the text of the hoarding, which is accompanied by a picture of an onion, reads, “Are you willing to listen to the grievances of onion farmers? To all politicians who have a part to play in the export ban and elected representatives who have failed to speak a single word against it, we will decide if we want to vote for you this time or not. If you don’t need farmers, we also don’t need you.” At the bottom of this is the signature: “All villagers, Malwadi village, Deola tehsil.”

A villager said, “Why should we allow politicians to come here and take pictures and promote themselves? What have they done for us? The ban on the export of onions has crushed our backbone this season. Not a single elected representative has raised their voice against this.”

Ban woes

The onion export ban has now been lifted, but villagers say this is too little and too late. The ban, first imposed on December 8, 2023, was a response to a shortage in domestic supply. On March 22, 2024, the Central government extended the ban indefinitely, mere days before it was due to expire on March 31. On April 27, the Ministry of Commerce gave permission to export 2,000 metric tons of white onion from Gujarat, which led to pressure from Maharashtra farmers. After this, the ban was finally lifted in the state in the last week on May 4. The onion belt of Nashik and Dindori goes to the polls on May 20.

“The problem with lifting the ban now is that for the past two days, there has been no internal communication, and hundreds of container trucks with onions are standing at Uran and JNPT [Jawaharlal Nehru Port] awaiting clearance. There is no clear communication about the lifting of the export ban,” another farmer said, adding, “This mess was created by politicians.”

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