Madhya Pradesh behind Delhi's tears over onions: Minister

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) Concerned over soaring onion prices here, the Delhi government accused Madhya Pradesh of hoarding the bulb in bulk to give political mileage to the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an election year.

Facing questions over the Congress government's failure in containing onion prices, Delhi's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf alleged the Madhya Pradesh government must have hoarded it at the behest of the BJP's Delhi unit.

"There is hoarding in Madhya Pradesh. The Delhi BJP would have told Madhya Pradesh government to hoard onion so it can win the coming elections in Delhi," an aggressive Yusuf said.

Madhya Pradesh is one of the states which supply onions to Delhi. The bulb is a staple ingredient in most culinary dishes in north India.

Incidentally, the spiralling onion prices was one of the factors on which the BJP lost its government in the 1998 Delhi assembly elections. Since then, the saffron party has failed to return to power.

Onions now being sold at Rs.70-75 a kg have upset the household budgets of people in the national capital, where assembly polls are due in November.

While also blaming heavy rains in south India, which have affected the movement of onion-laden trucks, the minister pleaded his helplessness in containing the sky-rocketing prices.

"Heavy rains have disrupted the movement of trucks bringing onions to Delhi. In the past few days, arrival of onion has been very less," he added.

However, he assured that government will sell onions at Rs.60 a kg through mobile vans that will be pressed into service.

"It will take seven-eight days to normalise the situation as the new crops will come in a week or so. We are dependent on other states as there is no cultivation of onion in Delhi," Yusuf said.

The minister, addressing a press conference, said hoarders in Delhi would not be spared.

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