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Onion Peppers Maharashtra Politics, Verbal Battles Ensue Between Pawar And Shinde

The Maharashtra onion crisis has triggered a fierce verbal battle in which top leader Sharad Pawar is the object of attacks by chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Ajit Pawar among others. The Centre has decided to purchase onion through NAFED at Rs 2,410 per quintal after the ruling alliance in Maharashtra pressed it for early decision in view of the glut in onion market and the resultant price crash. Opposition parties exploited the situation to corner the state government, which sent distress signals to Union home minister Amit Shah. Thereafter, Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal, who hails from Mumbai, has declared that the Centre will purchase two lakh tonnes of onion to start with and could buy more, if needed. Pawar has criticized the decision, saying that Rs 4,000 per quintal must be sanctioned by the Centre. He has been harpooned by Shinde, who recalled that Pawar had never taken such decisions in crisis situations during his 10 years as Union agriculture minister. Shinde has also reminded Pawar that the Centre has announced a Rs 10,000-crore package for the sugar industry, thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative. Shinde’s observations articulated in presence of Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar were reciprocated by the Deputy CM, who has asserted that the state would always stand by the farmers, did not name his uncle but left no doubt about the object of his spirited support of Shinde.