Farmers who have jumped into the poll fray in large numbers in Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat in Telangana Friday said their aim was only to register their protest against government's failure to ensure remunerative price for their produce.
As many as 170 farmers, who have filed nominations in the constituency from where Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter K Kavitha is seeking re-election, made it clear they had jumped into the fray not with the intention of defeating her.
They had chosen to contest the elections to the protest the TRS government's alleged failure to ensure remunerative prices for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce and establishing the turmeric board.
With 185 candidates, including the farmers, are in the fray, for the April 11 elections in the state, the Election Commission will use ballot papers instead of EVMs in the constituency.
Farmers have been seeking MSP of Rs 15,000 per quintal for turmeric and Rs 3,500 MSP per quintal of red jowar besides setting up of turmeric board.
"It is not to win the elections. We wanted to highlight our problems and want to get our demands fulfilled. Are they (Telangana government) not aware about our problems," turmeric farmer Pravin Kumar said.
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, he added.
"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," he said adding "we have no political agenda. We welcome any party which resolves our problems".
Another turmeric farmer Raghupathy Reddy said all farmers who are contesting the elections have 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," he said.
After the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended Thursday, a total of 443 candidates remained in the fray with Nizamabad topping the list with 185 candidates, including over 170 farmers.
Telangana, with 17 Lok Sabha constituencies, goes to the polls in the first phase on April 11.
Gangadhar Baddam, a farmer who filed his nomination, said the TRS government 'failed' to deliver on its poll promises such as support price for turmeric and red jowar.
He further said despite several agitations, the government did not heed to the demands and alleged that it even tried to suppress the stirs.
He alleged that ruling TRS leaders threatened them with dire consequences if they contested the polls en masse.
"We are contesting in the election as a mark of protest. The TRS failed to deliver us the promises it made during the 2014 polls. It promised Turmeric Board for the regions. It could not do it. It also failed to get us the minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar," Gangadhar said.
The villages of all the 170 contestants are supporting their move, he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)