Accordingly a spike in the price of onions has led to the ouster of governments in elections in the past. Presently, prices of the staple have collapsed, and many impoverished farmers are saying they will make Prime Minister Narendra Modi pay in next year's general election. Meanwhile the steep drops in recent weeks in the prices of onions and potatoes have badly hit the rural economy in large states.
Recently loss-stricken farmers have staged protests, blocked highways and dumped onions on the road after prices plunged to as low as one rupee per kg for a crop that costs about 8 rupees a kg to produce, but because of large cuts taken by middlemen, consumers have not benefited from the low prices. Previously in Maharashtra, the top onion producing state, farm prices have fallen 83%, dragged down by surplus supplies from the previous season's crop and lower export orders from the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Reportedly in Uttar Pradesh, which was crucial in Modi's election win in 2014, there is a similar problem with low potato prices. Moreover many farmers blame Modi for not fixing a price protection program which barely covers 7% of India's 26.3 crore farmers, leaving most growers at the mercy of middlemen.