Over a dozen debt-laden farmers have committed suicide in recent weeks in India, and discontent in many rural areas against government policies is turning into anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi less than a year after he swept into office.
Unseasonal storms have badly damaged the winter crop in large parts of the fertile northern plains, most likely contributing to the suicides, and villagers have blamed Modi for not stepping in to help the distressed farmers or ensuring that crop prices remained stable.
The farmer suicides in India's most politically sensitive region are the latest in several setbacks for Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is hoping to consolidate power by winning local elections in large, predominantly rural states over the next two years.
The government has delayed a comprehensive health plan as it shifts focus from subsidies to investment, while religious tensions have made minorities uneasy. Nevertheless, Modi has made progress with economic reform in his first year - although not as rapidly as some investors would like - and has reined in inflation.