Cost of making ordinary curry could cook Cong’s goose

If somebody has managed to be in power for 15 years it’s to the credit of the person to have retained people’s faith for so long. Not to forget that the Sheila Dikshit government first came to power in the national Capital in 1998 riding on the upward spiral in the prices of vegetables. Has the circle come full round?

Dikshit’s road shows and full-throttled campaign during the 1998 polls surrounded around onions. She would be weighed against the sacks full of bulbous root and the contents then distributed among those coming to hear her. Today, the beautiful street furniture, as the wayside hoardings came to rechristened during the Commonwealth Games, across the city is well lighted carrying message from the opposition BJP of tomato being sold at Rs 80 and onions at Rs 100 per kilogram.

The radio jingles by the BJP too caricatures the Congress campaign of providing speed to development saying that it has provided extra-ordinary momentum to the prices of vegetables. For the past three months, a hapless chief minister Sheila Dikshit has been running from pillar to post to bring down the prices of vegetables but it’s not just onions but also potato, tomato, ginger, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, brinjal and even the poor pumpkin which has gone out of reach of not just the masses but even the middle class.

To make an ordinary curry in an ordinary home of four in Delhi for a meal today is costing anything upward of Rs 150 and that’s not good news for Sheila Dikshit, who is fighting anti-incumbency both against her government and in a greater-degree against her party led central government.

To her credit, Dikshit, despite the model code of conduct being in place, has ensured that shops outside wholesale markets remain operational. However, buying vegetables from these ‘fair price’ shops could turn out to be quite a demeaning experience for a self-respecting individual. First one has to stand in the queue, two what one is handed over is pre-weighed packs of vegetables with no option to check on either weight or the quality of the content. If there is meek query on these counts, the poor customer is asked to step-aside and let others in the queue come forward, reminding one of the ration shops of 1970s-80s which made into scripts of super-hits of Bollywood like Roti, Kapda aur Makan.
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