Farmers, who are majority voters in Mandsaur district, on a short fuse

Mandsaur: Ever since the 2016 farmer killings at Piplya Mandi in the district, there has been a prevailing sense of unease. The farmers of Malwa and Mandsaur seem to be on a short fuse, since, despite all the claims by the BJP government, their lot has not improved.

PM Narendra Modi, for the first time after the incident, reached Mandsaur for an election campaign and spoke at length on how his government had ‘strengthened’ farmers. A good crowd was present, too, but the locals say the impact was completely the opposite.

Surendra Dhakad, a youth in the gathering, said, “Politicians seriously think people are deaf and dumb. But those times have gone. Where was Modiji when six of us were killed in police firing?”

Farmers’ lot still the same

Malwa’s farmers are known to employ the latest techniques. Yet, their bumper production of onion and garlic has not been recouping even investment price.

The Mandsaur Krishi Upaj Mandi is closed from November 22-November 29 because of public holidays and the elections. Over 1,000 tractors and loading vehicles are waiting outside the mandi complex hoping for an entry.

The open area of the mandi is filled with onions and the godowns are packed to the brim with stocks of soyabean and garlic. OP Sharma, mandi secretary said he was helpless since there were over 30,000 sacks of stock lying in the mandi. There are election issues and the mandi could be opened only on November 30.

Sunil Patidar, a local farmer, said the best produce of garlic locally known as ‘bam’ fetches around Rs5,000-Rs6,000 per quintal, but they are getting only Rs300 per quintal now. Even the Bhavantar Bhugtan Scheme could fetch a maximum of Rs2,200.

Poll scenario

Mandsaur has 4 Assembly constituencies, with farmers as the majority voters. For the first time, the Congress has dealt with rebels and fielded 73-year-old Narendra Nahta, who has grasp. BJP’s Yashpal Sisodia is contesting for the third time with popularity in the urban areas.

The Mandsaur Assembly constituency has 2.43 lakh voters 1.24 lakh men and 1.19 lakh women. The rural-urban voters’ number is almost equal. The constituency comprises Mandsaur, Malhargarh, Suvasra, Garoth, Neemuch, (with Javad, Manasa) and Ratlam (with Jaora). The last Assembly polls, the Congress won from here was in 1998. Two-time MLA Sisodia defeated Mahendra Singh Gujjar of the Congress in 2013.