Farmers from Tamil Nadu have decided to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election from Varanasi in an attempt to draw attention to their demands and concerns. P Ayyakannu, farmer leader and a lawyer said that farm issues need to be given utmost importance in the country and will not contest the elections if the BJP assures action in manifesto. BJP however has assured farmers that their concerns will be taken into account
Chennai: The preparations to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections takes new turns every day. Hundreds of farmers from Tamil Nadu have now decided to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. The move comes after the farmers staged protests in New Delhi to highlight their demands.
Tamil Nadu farmers leader P Ayyakannu spoke to MyNation and said that as many as 140 farmers from the State will contest against PM Modi from Varanasi.
Ayyakannu, who is also president of the National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers Association, said the decision to contest the polls from Uttar Pradesh was to urge the BJP to include in their manifesto that their demands, including "profitable prices for farm produce," would be fulfilled.
P Ayyakannu said, “During the 2014 elections, PM Modi had promised us double the profitable prices, but in reality what happened is, we got an increase of two rupees.”
He further pointed out that the several such promises are made time and again by the BJP and the Congress, but at the time of execution, it becomes clear to us that it wasn’t what was promised.
Ayyakannu assured that the decision to contest only stemmed from the intention to spread awareness about the plight of farmers.
“The moment they include our demands in the manifesto, we will drop the idea of contesting against PM Modi,” stated P Ayyakannu.
He stated that farmers across the nation do not differentiate between one party and another.
“Congress has also not done anything all these years, and the BJP too has not done much. We just want people to be aware of our situation and we want politicians to help us,” expressed Ayyakannu.
The farmer leader went on to say that they are neither Congress supporters nor BJP’s haters, “we just want justice,” added Ayyakannu.
Reiterating their move, P Ayyakannu said, “Our decision was to file nominations in Varanasi like Aghoris. But if the BJP does include our demands, then we will not bother them.”
BJP’s national spokesperson Zafar Islam also spoke to MyNation and highlighted that if there was any party that worked towards the welfare of the farmers, it is the BJP.
“BJP has worked towards better pricing of products, soil testing to improve crop productivity and even improving infrastructure,” stated Zafar Islam.
He further said that in few places, for instance, tomatoes are sold at Rs 20 a kilo and in few others, they are sold at Rs 2 per kilo. “The BJP has improved infrastructure to cater to demands and have a reasonable price,” added the national spokesperson.
Assuring the farmers, Zafar Islam said, “The BJP understands the concerns and demands of the farmers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is extremely concerned about the farm issues and soon the manifesto will be given. I can say that we will definitely try to live up to their demands.”
In November 2018, farmers led by Ayyakannu had gone to Delhi with two "skulls," to take part in a kisan rally, saying it belonged to their colleagues who had allegedly committed suicide over debt.
Earlier MyNation had reported that Ayyakannu is a lover of publicity. The 68-year-old 'poor farmer' Ayyakannu happens to even own an Audi car and is also accused of being part of the sand mining mafia in Tamil Nadu.
Last March, Ayyakannu was in the news after he got into an altercation with a woman activist, Nellaiyammal from the BJP. Ayyakannu allegedly called her a 'slut' and she slapped him for his comments.
About 1,200 members of Ayyakannu's farmer organisation had arrived in Delhi early on Thursday with the skulls of farmers in the delta region, who had allegedly committed suicide.
Earlier, in 2017, BJP national secretary H Raja had alleged that Ayyakannu is a "fraud" and had taken money from a bank, which was not repaid.
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Last Updated Mar 26, 2019, 5:44 PM IST