Fifty turmeric farmers from Nizamabad district of Telangana plan to contest the election against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency to highlight their problems.
After making their presence felt in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in April 11 election, a group of farmers on Tuesday announced their decision to take on Modi, who is seeking re-election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
However, none of the 178 farmers who contested from Nizamabad will be filing their nominations in the Prime Minister’s constituency.
The All India Turmeric Farmers’ Association president Daivasigamani said 50 farmers, majority of them from the scheduled castes and women, would undertake “Chalo Varanasi” programme to file their nominations.
They plan to file their nominations on April 28, two days after Modi files his papers. Polling in Varanasi is scheduled in the last phase on May 19.
They said they will file their nominations as Independent candidates to highlight their demands for higher remunerative prices for turmeric and red jowar and setting up of Turmeric Board in Nizamabad. They made it clear that they will contest to highlight their issues and not to oppose any candidate.
Daivasigamani said the final number of farmers who will enter the fray in Varanasi will depend on securing signatures of 10 local voters each and arranging the money to pay as deposit.
The group felt that their issues were sidelined as the farmers who contested from Nizamabad constituency targeted Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) candidate K. Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. The farmers, who appear sympathetic to the TRS leader, claimed that in the last five years she fought to get Centre’s approval for setting up of Turmeric Board.
A total of 185 candidates including 178 farmers had contested from Nizamabad forcing the Election Commission to go for record number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to conduct the polls. The poll body used 12 EVMs of M3 version in each of the polling booths.
Kavitha, who is seeking re-election from Nizamabad, had alleged during the campaign that her political rivals were instigating farmers.
She had urged farmers to contest against Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi to highlight their problems.