Hyderabad: In a bid to highlight their problems, about 100 turmeric farmers--50 each from Telangana and Tamil Nadu, are planning to file nominations as independents from the Varanasi constituency, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election.

According to PK Deivasigamani, president of the Turmeric Farmers Association of India, they will file their nominations before April 29. "They are in the process of arranging funds towards deposit to contest the polls," he said. Varanasi will go to the polls in the last phase on May 19.

"Whether it is the BJP government or Congress government, farmers are always neglected. About 50 farmers from Tamil Nadu and 50 from Telangana will be contesting from Varanasi. We want to highlight farmers issues. We never got any profitable price for our produce," Deivasigamani said. He claimed all over the country, farmers were neglected as far as government policies are concerned. Deivasigamani alleged 381 farmers committed suicide last year.

As many as 177 farmers contested as independents in Nizamabad during the April 11 Lok Sabha elections as a mark of protest against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi which they alleged failed to ensure minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce and in getting a Turmeric Board established in Nizamabad.

The Election Commission had to make special arrangements for the Nizamabad polls due to the large number of contestants. The EC had used over 26000 Ballot Units and 2200 Control Units and about 26,000 VVPATs for the people to cast their vote.

P Tirupati Reddy, Nizamabad Turmeric Farmers Association President, said they would file nominations from the Varanasi constituency on April 27. He said despite the efforts put in by Kavitha, the sitting TRS MP and Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter, the region could not get a Turmeric Board.

Dharmapuri Arvind, the BJP's candidate from Nizamabad, said the proposed mass nominations for Varanasi seat by Telangana farmers was "politically motivated." He said it was wrong to say Kavitha tried her level best for setting up a Turmeric Board in the State. "I request our Telangana Turmeric farmers to see the development that Chowkidar (Modi) did in Varanasi and compare it with that of Nizamabad done by Kavitha....if you are satisfied with Modis performance, then please visit Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and bring Ganga jal," Arvind said.(PTI)

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