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On why Nashik does not give its Parliamentarians a second chance

Surabhi Nashik | Updated on April 18, 2019

Farmers in Maharashtra’s Nashik Lok Sabha constituency discuss water scarcity and fodder depot for the livestock

It’s neither the NYAY scheme of the Congress nor the ₹6,000-annual support of the NDA that the farmers in drought-prone Sinnar are interested in. They want adequate water supply for their farms and daily needs, and a fodder depot for the livestock.

Two farmers have committed suicide in Nashik district in the last week alone, even as candidates vie for a seat in the Lok Sabha promising development, jobs and better infrastructure.

Acche din to aaye hi nahin,” said farmer Jairam Shankar in Marhal Khurd village in Sinnar, pointing to the empty fields. “We get one-two tankers of water a day. We are unable to cultivate crops due to water scarcity. At one time, we used to grow wheat, onions, jowar, bajra and even sugarcane,” he said.

Farmers in the area said their demands have mostly not been met and they want their voice to be heard in Delhi.

“The loan waiver (announced by the State government) benefited only a few, and the ₹2,000 from the (Central) government was also not given to all farmers due to various issues,” according to farmer Pradip Khote. In the neighbouring Nirhale village, Kailash Kharbari Thorat had to sell one of his three cows because of fodder shortage. “I had bought the cow for ₹40,000 but sold it for ₹15,000,” he said. It is impossible to spend ₹200 a day for fodder when he makes just ₹100 selling milk.

Employment is also a big challenge for the people who travel to Sinnar MIDC to work as a daily labour.

But farmers’ issues ranging from water to better prices for their produce, don’t seem to be adequately flagged by any of the candidates contesting the Nashik Lok Sabha seat.

Nashik, which will face polls on April 29, has about 65-70 per cent urban voters and 30 per cent rural population.

Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Hemant Godse said two river-linking projects have been approved that will bring about 12 TMC water to the Godavari river basin.

Meanwhile, NCP candidate and former MP Sameer Bhujbal has been highlighting farmers’ issues and loss of jobs. He said development has stopped under the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.

“Over 35-40 factories in Sinnar have shut down along with 100 other factories in Nashik, leading to loss of jobs. Industries are disappearing because of increase in power tariff, GST and demonetisation,” he said.

Former BJP leader Manikrao Kokate, who has filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate, said neither the Sena-BJP alliance nor the NCP-Congress candidate have done much for the city.

No sitting candidate has ever managed to get re-elected from Nashik for a second term, with the exception of Bhanudas Kavade of the Congress in the 1960s and 1970s.

For the latest on elections, click: Elections 2019

Published on April 18, 2019

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