Will normal monsoon be Godsend opportunity for BJP?
Amidst the political turmoil and violence comes the hope of this year’s monsoon being normal and in fact, going by the forecast of Skymet, has a 20 per cent chance of being above normal.
The private weather forecaster has said the monsoon this year is likely to be ‘normal’ with ‘zero chance’ of a drought.
‘Normal’ rainfall refers to India getting, within a 4 per cent error margin, 887 mm of rainfall during the monsoon season. The claim of ‘normal’ rain has to be tested on the geographical reach and July-August rains are crucial for a good harvest. The two months bring in half the monsoon rains and the coming months would reveal if the spread of monsoon has been on the expected lines.
The prospects of a normal monsoon may cool temperatures in the election bound states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where the governments have been facing farm sector unrest.
However, the prospect of a good monsoon is only half the battle. The bigger issues that would challenge the policy makers will call for a nimble footed response. The minimum support price (MSP) on wheat, rice and coarse grain leaves out vegetables and fruits, which have a limited shelflife.
Most states have bare minimum or no cold storage facilities. Food Corporation of India, which is the biggest buyer of grains and some other products on the behalf of the government, faces severe constraints of storage. It is a problem that all the major food grain growing states have been facing for past 15 years.
However, the prospects of normal monsoon provides succour to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to defend its strongholds of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh which go to polls towards the end of the year. Karnataka will elect its regional assembly next month.
Will BJP convert the opportunity offered by normal rainfall prospects to its political winning shot? The coming months of the year will answer the question that will set the ball rolling for 2019 general elections.
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