With 170 farmers filing nominations as protest, EC will use ballot papers in Telangana’s Nizamabad

As Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be used for a maximum of 64 candidates, the authorities will have to use ballot papers for polling in Nizamabad.

Image Courtesy: ANI

Hyderabad: Ballot papers will be used for polling in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana as 185 candidates, a majority of them farmers, are contesting in next month’s elections, officials said.
As Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be used for a maximum of 64 candidates, the authorities will have to use ballot papers for polling in Nizamabad.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha is seeking re-election from the constituency, where the Congress has once again fielded Madhu Yaskhi Goud.
With the deadline for the withdrawal of nominations coming to an end on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer Rajath Kumar said 185 candidates, including 178 farmers, remained in fray in Nizamabad.
Turmeric and red sorghum farmers filed their nominations en masse to highlight their problems, especially with regard to remunerative prices.
We have to get over 15 lakh jumbo-sized ballot papers printed in the next 10 days and procure hundreds of ballot boxes. Discussions are on with various printers to get them printed on an emergency basis, and ballot boxes are being procured from other districts and neighbouring states. We also have to allot symbols to all the independent candidates. It may take a lot of time,’’ an official said in a report by The Indian Express.
This is the first time since 1996 that ballot papers are being used in the state. A record number of 245 nominations were filed in Nizamabad, and apart from the TRS, Congress, BJP and Left candidates, all others were farmers.
The Congress has fielded former MP Madhu Yashki Goud while BJP’s Dharmapuri Arvind is in the fray.
“About 175 turmeric farmers are contesting as Independents. This is to draw the nation’s attention to the plight of farmers who are not even getting minimum prices for their crop, and the government is doing nothing about it. More than 500 farmers were supposed to file their nominations but TRS leaders arm-twisted them and forced them not to file their nominations,” said farmer cooperative leader E Rajareddi in the report.
Turmeric farmers of Nizamabad have been protesting for several months, demanding that the government assure a minimum of Rs 9000 per quintal against the Rs 4,500 that is being offered now.
“We spend up to Rs 1.50 lakhs on each acre to grow turmeric; about Rs 7,500 per quintal. How can we accept only Rs 4,500 per quintal? We are suffering immense loses,” S Anvesh Reddy in the report, who is leading the protests said. Anvesh Reddy is chairman of Telangana Kisan Congress.
“We also want a National Turmeric Board to be set up which will ensure MSP and root out middlemen. In 2014, Kavitha had assured that the Board would be set up. She moved a Private Member’s Bill called Turmeric Board Bill in 2017 but it was never passed. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Bodhan, Balakonda and Armoor are affected,” he said in the report.
Rajath Kumar said the arrangements for the conduct of polling with ballot papers were still under discussion and a final decision would be taken by the Election Commission.
He also said a total of 443 candidates were in the fray for all 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state, going to polls on April 11. Medak constituency has only 10 candidates.



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