My Times Today.Weak farm prices are threatening to hurt Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party as it faces a critical test in three state elections dominated by rural voters in the Hindi-speaking belt that is its traditional stronghold.
On a visit last week to the most crucial of the three states, Madhya Pradesh, which was voting on Wednesday, Reuters spoke to 134 rural voters along a 400 km (250 miles) corridor – 89, or about two-thirds, said they would vote for the opposition Congress party rather than the ruling BJP.
“Diesel and fertiliser prices have shot up but paddy and wheat prices rose only marginally,” said Prem Naryan Meena, a 60-year-old wheat farmer in Gudari Ghat village on the outskirts of Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal. “Our net realisation has been falling every year.”
Meena says he will vote Congress for the first time in his life because the BJP has failed to lift farmers’ earnings as promised. He voted BJP in the last state and general elections.
The latest survey from pollster C Voter puts Congress marginally ahead in both Madhya Pradesh and the second of the Hindi-speaking states, Chhattisgarh, where voting has been completed. Congress has an 8.2 percentage-point lead in the third state, Rajasthan, according to the survey. All three results are expected on Dec. 11