Erode: The turmeric farmers from in and around Nizamabad in Telangana and Erode in Tamil Nadu are contesting against PM Modi in Varanasi, citing that their demands were not met.

Farmers are demanding the constitution of a board and support price for turmeric. As their demands have not been fulfilled for decades now, nearly 100 farmers have decided to file their nomination in Varanasi on April 29 (the last date to file nominations).  

Recently, 178 turmeric farmers had filed their nominations in Nizamabad Assembly constituency in Telangana, protesting against the inaction of chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter Kavalakunte Kavita. 

The farmers had put forth the same demands – constitution of the board and remunerative prices for turmeric. They alleged that when a board can be set up for tobacco growers, why not approve it for turmeric farmers who are demanding this for 12 years now. Telangana turmeric farmers’ association president, Kotapati Narasimham Naidu, is said to be the brain behind farmers contesting against Kavita in Nizamabad, forcing the polling station to have 12 electronic voting machines (EVM) to accommodate 185 candidates.

Farmers also said that turmeric rates had come down drastically from Rs 12,000 in 2014 to Rs 6,500 currently.

Farmers from Telangana will be joined by Erode turmeric growers from Tamil Nadu. And everyone will travel in train together to Varanasi.

However, there is another theory doing the rounds that the nomination against Modi is the brainchild of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) as most of the Nizamabad farmers are said to belong to the party.

But the farmers have refuted this claim and are of the opinion that they are voicing their problems more pronouncedly by contesting against PM Modi.

Earlier, another set of 111 farmers, under the leadership of Ayyakannu, were planning to contest from Varanasi, but have now backed out. 

Ayyakannu, along with farmers, had staged a protest in Delhi for over 140 days urging fulfilment of various demands. The protest had made headlines as they had eaten rats, snakes and had even run naked. But it is said that Amit Shah had a meeting with Ayyakannu and has promised to fulfil their demands including the promise of interlinking rivers and providing support price for the crops.