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Onion prices: The nation’s special tear-jerker returns

Shooting onion prices have stung India before. But a new layer is now being peeled.

ET Bureau|
Dec 02, 2019, 08.58 AM IST
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AFP
​A supporter of National Congress party wearing onions as necklace and hat ornaments attends a 'Janvedna Yatra' (rally) against the price rise of onions and vegetables in Ahmedabad​.
A supporter of National Congress party wearing onions as necklace and hat ornaments attends a 'Janvedna Yatra' (rally) against the price rise of onions and vegetables in Ahmedabad.
What is it about onions and the state of the Indian nation? In 1998, state governments in Delhi and Rajasthan fell purportedly due to the eye-stinging rise of prices of onions.

Much before that, one of the reasons cited for the return of Indira Gandhi from post-Emergency wilderness as PM in 1980 was her success at making high onion prices the ‘root’ cause of the failure of the Janata Party government.

Now, with onion prices having crossed the Rs 100 a kg barrier, and the government forced to import the many-layered, much-peeled vegetable from Egypt and Turkey, is pyaaz going to be the symbol of a national economic tear-jerker?

In West Bengal, there has been at least one reported incident of thieves breaking into a vegetable shop and stealing — not cash, which was left untouched — but onions currently worth some Rs45,000. Maharashtra, as we have noticed in the recent past, has higher stakes. So it isn’t unexpected that a truck carrying Rs20 lakh worth of onions from Nashik ‘has gone missing’ — truck, driver and cargo.

Perhaps more disturbing is the news of many Bengaluru restaurants removing onion dosa from their menus. What next? Pyaza-less chicken do pyaza? Onion fritters and pakoras being sold in dark underpasses by shady wheeler-peelers? But better unaffordable onions than potatoes going underground, no?

Pakistan Cricket Coach Has Banned Biryani; Other Food Banned For Sports Teams

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