Onions made us cry in polls, will talk to Centre on support price: Maharashtra CM

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Mumbai, Jun 11 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday acknowledged that farm distress cost the ruling Mahayuti alliance dearly in the Lok Sabha polls and said he will meet the new Union Agriculture Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and raise the issue of fixing support price for onion, soybean and cotton.

Speaking at a meeting of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Price here, Shinde said he has spoken about farm-related issues to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We faced issues because of onions around Nashik (a major production centre of the key kitchen staple in north Maharashtra). Onions made us cry in Nashik, soybean and cotton in Marathwada and Vidarbha (in polls)," he said.

"We will talk about fixing support price for onion, soyabean and cotton with the Union Agriculture Minister," Shinde maintained.

A ban on onion export by the Centre in December last year to control retail prices led to protests by farmers, especially in the Nashik belt. The ban was eventually lifted in early May.

The Shiv Sena and its ally BJP lost Nashik and Dindori Lok Sabha seats, respectively. The ruling Mahayuti alliance could only win one seat in Marathwada and just two in Vidarbha.

The Mahayuti, comprising the Shiv Sena, the BJP, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), faced a drubbing in polls, winning only 17 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

Shinde pointed out that after taking charge on Monday, Prime Minister Modi signed his first file authorising the release of 17th instalment of 'PM Kisan Nidhi' funds amounting to nearly Rs 20,000 crore, which will benefit around 9.3 crore farmers.

The state government, too, has taken several steps for the welfare of farmers, the CM maintained. PTI PR RSY

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