Nizamabad: Farmers’ distress on lack of remunerative prices for turmeric and red jowar was ignored for the last two decades. Vexed with this, they have entered into the political arena to register their protest and draw the attention of the entire country. The major political parties, the Congress, BJP and TRS have been facing an embarrassing situation due to the agitation of farmers.
Actually, around 1,000 farmers had planned to file nominations for Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency, but after scrutiny and withdrawals, only 179 are in the fray. Turmeric and red jowar crops are cultivated in Nizamabad district on a large scale and exported to foreign countries and other states in India.
Farmers have demanding a Turmeric Board on the lines of the Tobacco Board since the 1990s. Under the aegis of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), turmeric farmers conducted a series of agitational programmes during the UPA regime.
In the 2014 general elections, farmers fielded SJM leader Kotapati Narasimha Naidu as an independent MP candidate from Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency, but he failed to impact the election. TRS candidate K. Kavitha assured a Turmeric Board if she won as MP, but in vain. The strained relations between the BJP and TRS during 2014-2016 did not yield any result.
However, the then BJP MP candidate Endala Laxminarayana lost the Nizamabad election even though the Modi wave hit the entire country. In this context, union minister Nirmala Sitaraman declared that the Turmeric Board was not viable and there were no plans to set it up.
During the Congress government in 2004-2014, red jowar farmers’ stir turned violent in Nizamabad district and led to police firing in Armoor. After the formation of TS, the TRS cleared `11 crore arrears to red jowar farmers, fulfilling an election promise.
Speaking to this newspaper, farmers’ leader Kotapati Narasimham Naidu said that the Centre should respond on the Turmeric Board issue. “We welcome the decision of farmers to contest in the Lok Sabha elections to highlight the price issue,” he said. Mr Naidu felt that farmers contesting does not mean that they are against the TRS or sitting MP Kavitha, all political parties are responsible.
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