NEW DELHI: Last week the people of Karnataka handed the Congress party a comprehensive mandate. The subtext of this election was equally fascinating, especially as it identified a new touch point of inflation: cooking gas. In fact, the exit poll conducted by Axis My India revealed that inflation was the second most important reason for the electorate to vote for the Congress. Karnataka is among the few states in the country that have achieved saturation in LPG connections. This includes the poor, who are covered under the union government’s flagship welfare programme Ujjwala. However, with gas prices surging in the last two years, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party was at the receiving end of electoral ire. Interestingly, both the political parties took cognizance of the electoral concern and offered sops in their respective election manifesto. This week we explore the consequences of the material trading- up of India and the challenges it poses to political parties vying for power. Guiding us through this conversation is Ashok Lahiri, former Chief Economic Advisor and BJP MLA from Balurghat, West Bengal.
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