Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar pulled back the curtain on the delicate game of politics that led his faction to join forces with the BJP and the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. “In the high-stakes game of politics, there are no permanent enemies or allies, only shifting allegiances and strategic alliances,” he proclaimed. During a lively public rally in Beed on Sunday, he shed light on the reasoning behind his Mahayuti alliance (Ajit Pawar’s coalition with BJP, Shinde-led Sena). He candidly admitted, “Our decision to align ourselves with Mahayuti is a testament to our unwavering commitment to addressing the challenges our people face and driving the state’s development forward.”
Pawar emphasized, “Despite our alliance with Mahayuti, our allegiance lies with the people of Maharashtra, irrespective of their caste or religion. Our mission is to safeguard their interests.” He also pledged to continually strive for the welfare of farmers, recalling, “During my tenure as the Water Resources Minister, I implemented several initiatives to ensure water availability for farming.”
On the recent onion crisis, Pawar revealed that he had urged State Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde to seek assistance from central leaders. “In response to the onion crisis, Munde approached the central leaders, and Home Minister Amit Shah promptly purchased 2 lakh metric tonnes of onion at Rs 24 per kg,” Pawar detailed.
Politics in Maharashtra Government
Contrary to Pawar’s stance, Maharashtra Congress Chief Nana Patole criticized the Central government’s recent decision to hike the export duty on onions by 40% as “anti-farmer.” Patole questioned, “Why burden our farmers with increased export tax? If the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India doesn’t buy the onions promptly, they will go stale, causing a loss for our farmers.”
Patole also accused the BJP government of neglecting the interests of the people and farmers, claiming, “The BJP government seems more interested in favoring import arrangements like Adani than safeguarding our farmers.”
The Central government recently imposed a 40% export duty on onions, leading to protests by onion farmers in Maharashtra’s Nashik district. This decision was announced in a Finance Ministry notification issued on August 19, stating that the new export duty will be in effect till December 31, 2023.
As onion prices are expected to surge in September, the central government began releasing onions from its buffer stock on August 11. The buffer stock, maintained to stabilize prices during supply shortages, is expected to hold 3 lakh tonnes of onions for the 2023-24 season, up from 2.51 lakh tonnes in the 2022-23 season. The central government also started procuring an additional two lakh tonnes of onions from Maharashtra farmers on Tuesday.
The procurement announcement was made during a meeting between Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in Delhi on Tuesday.
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