Farmers in Telangana state who have jumped into the poll fray in large numbers in Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat on Friday, March 29, have stated that their only aim is to register their protest against the government’s failure to ensure remunerative price for their produce.
Approximately, 170 farmers who have filed nominations in the constituency have made it clear that they have jumped into the fray not with the intention of defeating Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha who is seeking re-election from the same constituency, rather to put their issues across.
They had chosen to contest the elections to protest against TRS government’s failure of ensuring remunerative prices for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce and establishing the turmeric board. Farmers have been seeking MSP of Rs. 15,000 per quintal for turmeric and Rs. 3,500/- MSP for red jowar.
With 185 candidates, including the farmers, are in the fray for the April 11 elections in the state. Instead of EVMs, the Election Commission will use ballot papers in the constituency.
“It is not to win the elections. We wanted to get our demands fulfilled. Are they (Telangana government) not aware of our problems?” asked Pravin Kumar, a turmeric farmer.
"Several dharnas, rasta-rokos were held, but there was no response from them and hence a decision was taken to file nominations and contest the elections. We are not canvassing...we will lose the election and deposit also but we did not withdraw the nominations. We wanted to bring it to national attention. We have no political agenda. We welcome any party which resolves our problems," he added
Another turmeric farmer Raghupathy Reddy said, "All farmers who are contesting the elections have a similar opinion to highlight the issues including non-setting up of turmeric board and higher MSP for turmeric and red sorghum. The idea is to highlight our concerns and grievances and not to defeat madam (Kavitha). It is not only my opinion but of all contesting farmers."
Gangadhar Baddam, a farmer who filed his nomination, said that despite several agitations, the government did not pay any heed to the demands and alleged that it even tried to suppress the stirs. He alleged that the ruling TRS leaders threatened them with dire consequences if they contested the polls en masse.
Telangana, with 17 Lok Sabha constituencies, goes to the polls in the first phase on April 11.
(With PTI inputs)