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Farmers force turmeric, red jowar into Nizamabad LS candidates’ agenda

KV Kurmanath Nizamabad (Telangana) | Updated on April 03, 2019 Published on April 03, 2019

Turmeric piled up at a Nizamabad marketyard (file photo)   -  THE HINDU

TRS, Congress, BJP candidates working overtime to convince farmers

In 16 out of 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana, national issues by and large dominate the poll campaign.

In Nizamabad, a constituency with 15.52 lakh voters, however, it is completely different. Leaders and candidates representing the TRS, the Congress and the BJP are working overtime to assure turmeric and red jowar farmers that they will solve their issues, if elected.

Poll promises

Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh, who was addressing a public meeting on Tuesday, promised to consider setting up a Turmeric Board. TRS candidate K Kavitha vows to resolve their issues and Congress candidate Madhu Yashki Goud promises a minimum support price of ₹10,000 a quintal for turmeric and ₹3,000 for red jowar.

Support prices

The farmers, who started protests well ahead of elections, have been demanding remunerative prices for turmeric and red jowar.

“Our demands fell on deaf ears with no political party coming forward to support our cause,” Sai Reddy, who heads the Village Development Committee (VDC) of Jakranpalli, told BusinessLine.

The resentment is widespread across the seven constituencies, resulting in mass filing of nominations. As many as 180 farmers filed nominations, crowding out the five contests from the main political parties. The parties soon realised the damage that farmers can do. “I admit that there are issues. The minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar is a problem that the Centre needs to solve. I have taken up the issue with the Centre several times in the last five years,” K Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, said.

“I will join them in pressing for the demand, which is pending for long,” she added.

Kavitha is seeking re-election from the constituency, which was represented twice by Madhu Yashki Goud of the Congress, who is contesting again this time.

With TRS bagging all the seven constituencies in the 2018 Assembly elections, the TRS candidate seems to have an edge. But Madhu Yashki, a close aide of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and who represented this constituency twice, is putting up a strong fight. He says the farmers are a dejected lot. “The State government has done nothing to address their problems. We are promising remunerative prices for turmeric and red jowar,” he said.

Madhu Yashki, who was on a door-to-door campaign in Bodhan, was addressing groups of 30-40 people in street corners or in spacious houses.

Selling the idea of monthly payout of ₹6,000 as promised by Rahul Gandhi, he tells the voters that the State failed to take up irrigation projects, resulting in severe shortage of water for agriculture.

The agitating farmers, however, are in no mood to relent. “None of the political parties supported us when we were protesting. Now they want us to withdraw from the fray. We won’t budge. We will spread the word across,” said Chilukuri Ganganna, one of the 180 farmer-contestants.

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Published on April 03, 2019
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