Besides Telangana farmers, PM Modi to face 2 more from Andhra Pradesh

2 crusaders against fluoride contamination of groundwater to enter fray.

Nellore: Veligonda Project Sadhana Samiti leaders, Vadde Srinivasulu and Kollur Ravikiran Sarma, of Botlagudur village in Pamuru mandal of Prakasam district, are all set to file nominations for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, the last day for nominations in Uttar Pradesh.

“We chose to contest against the Prime Minister to highlight at the national level the perennial shortage of drinking water, regular drought, besides fluoride and resulting kidney problems in Prakasam district,” said Ravikiran Sarma.

Mr Sarma is a purohit for 10 villages while Mr Srinivasulu is a software engineer working in L&T in Bengaluru.

They have been fighting for remedial measures for toxicity and the resulting chronic kidney ailments haunting western parts of Prakasam district because of the high fluoride content in the groundwater.

They floated the Samiti five years ago to supply potable water from Veligonda as the only solution to prevent serious health problems in the region. They are also demanding an exclusive corporation to deal with the fluoride issue in the district and assist the victims.

Mr Sarma, the purohit, says he is moved by the plight of people in this drought prone region. “Their situation is such that they have been openly admitting their inability to offer even paltry money for the rituals I am performing in their homes,” he said.

Speaking to this newspaper over the phone from Varanasi, Mr Sarma said he and Mr Srinivasulu reached Varanasi on April 21 and opened bank accounts after depositing `25,000 each as per the directions of election officials. However, their attempt to file their nominations failed twice as the proposers they chose locally could not give satisfactory answers to the election officers about their acquaintance with Mr Sarma and Mr Srinivasulu.

Mr Sarma said he was confident they would succeed in their third attempt scheduled for Monday. He said 50 farmers involved in cultivating turmeric in Nizamabad district are also planning to file their nominations on Monday.

“They have promised to cooperate with us to file the nominations along with them on Monday. We have decided to stage a unique protest to draw nationwide attention to the issues affecting Prakasam district and Nizamabad district, in Varanasi, if the election officials reject the nominations on Monday,” Mr Sarma said.

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