Lok Sabha elections 2019: 1,000 Nizamabad farmers to mass contest polls for higher crop prices
Farmers in Telangana’s Nizamabad district, who have been agitating for the last two months for a remunerative price for red jowar and turmeric crops, have found a unique way to take up their issue at the national level.
At least 1,000 farmers from 200-odd villages are planning to file their nominations for the Lok Sabha elections from the Nizamabad parliamentary constituency.
“At least five to six farmers from every village will file their nominations as Independents in the elections. The villagers have contributed money for these contestants for the election deposit and also campaign,” Telangana Kisan Congress chairperson Sunketa Anvesh Reddy said while speaking to the Hindustan Times.
As the electoral process began on Monday, around 60 farmers collected their nomination papers. “On Wednesday, at least 100-200 farmers will file their nominations,” Reddy, who is also a turmeric farmer, said.
According to Reddy, the farmers are under severe pressure from local Telangana Rashtra Samithi leaders to opt out of the race as party president and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter and sitting MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha is contesting the elections for a second term.
“Our intention is not to fight against her but to highlight our issue at the national level,” he said.
Even if the TRS brings pressure on some farmers to withdraw their nominations, Reddy said at least 500 of them would definitely be in the fray.
However, a contest by so many farmers is likely to pose problems for the Election Commission. One electronic voting machine can accommodate only 16 names and the control unit can record the voting of only four such EVMs linked together, which means each control unit can register a maximum of 64 candidates.
Thus, the poll body will be forced to increase the number of control units and EVMs in each polling station in the constituency. “In such a case, the EC has to take a decision to go with ballot papers, instead of EVMs,” Reddy said.
In the 1996 Lok Sabha elections in Nalgonda constituency, a record number of 480 candidates filed their nominations to protest the lack of safe drinking water for the fluoride affected villages of the district. The EC had to conduct the elections with a jumbo-sized ballot paper instead of EVMs.