Agri Business

Varanasi voters refuse to root for Telangana’s turmeric farmers

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on April 30, 2019

Despite lack of local support, 26 file nomination

When the turmeric farmers of Nizamabad in Telangana decided to highlight their plight by contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, the constituency from which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election, they did not expect the process of filing nomination papers to be more arduous than growing their crop. But that’s exactly what has happened.

Out of the 50 farmers who made the journey to the constituency to file their papers, only 26 have managed to do so. Besides the farmers, two activists from Andhra Pradesh who have been supporting the cause of fluorosis victims have filed their nomination.

Several obstacles

The farmers claimed they faced several obstacles and could not elicit support from the locals, which is crucial for getting the nomination papers endorsed. Besides depositing a sum of ₹25,000 each, the candidates required the signatures of at least 10 local voters.

“We had talked to them quite early and they agreed to back our nominations. But they were threatened later. As a result, we could muster support only for 26 candidates,” a source close to the farmers told BusinessLine.

The farmers, who have been protesting against lack of remunerative prices for turmeric, want to highlight their main demand — establishment of a Turmeric Board on the lines of the Tobacco Board.

“There was a gathering of 500 people at the place where we were supposed to get an application and fill it up. It was three in the afternoon before we could get an application,” Ganga Reddy, one of the contestants, said.

“We would like the country to know about our problems. We are making losses every year. An exclusive board for the commodity would help,” he said.

Fluorosis issue

Vadde Srinivas, an IT employee, and Ravi Kiran, an activist, have also filed their nominations. They represent a movement that has been spearheading an agitation demanding completion of the Veligonda project which is supposed to provide drinking water to the fluorosis-hit areas in Nellore, Prakasam and Kadapa districts.

Their peers from Telangana, however, could not make it.

“We could not muster the support of the locals to endorse our papers,” Sudheer Jalagam, who is supporting the fluorosis victims, said.

The ballot route p6

Published on April 30, 2019

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