The crisis fuelled by fertiliser shortage appears to be spreading with various towns in Karnataka and Maharashtra witnessing violent protests by farmers . While the chief ministers of the two states — B S Yeddyurappa and Vilasrao Deshmukh — have pressed the panic button and met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, separately, to ensure adequate supply ahead of the planting of the kharif crop, there is apprehension in the ruling side that the problem could pull down the government’s ratings further. The crisis comes at a time when the government is under severe attack over its inability to contain the price rise and address the farmers’ mounting concerns, notwithstanding the Rs 71,000 crore loan waiver package announced earlier this year. With fertiliser scarcity, and the problems flowing from it, acquiring a pan-Indian phenomenon, the Centre can ignore the issue only at its own peril in a year dotted with elections.
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