Crowd of contestants

Print edition : April 26, 2019

THE Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency has created electoral history in Telangana with 185 candidates, most of them turmeric farmers, in the fray. Sugarcane and jowar farmers from the Jagtial Assembly segment of Nizamabad have also filed their nominations in order to highlight their plight. In what seems like a multi-cornered fight, the main contest in Nizamabad is a triangular one among three high-profile contestants: sitting Member of Parliament of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) K. Kavitha, All India Congress Committee secretary Madhu Yashki Goud, and former Mayor Dharmapuri Arvind of the BJP.

The demands of the turmeric farmers include a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs.15,000 a quintal, a threefold increase from the Rs.5,000 they are getting now; establishment of a turmeric board in Nizamabad, which is a key trading centre; and an MSP of Rs.3,500 a quintal for red jowar. Around 245 farmers managed to file their nominations in spite of the restrictions officials placed on reaching the Collectorate; 179 of them remain in the fray.

All of them have been allotted election symbols. The farmer-contestants have resolved to choose the symbol through lottery and approach mainstream political parties for support. The main victim of this development is Kavitha, daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who is looking forward to a second term. “Why am I being targeted when I don’t fix the MSP or take a decision on the turmeric board? I fought non-stop with the Centre on these twin issues but to no avail,” she said.

The presence of so many candidates in the fray posed a challenge to the Election Commission, which initially mulled over proposals like using ballot papers instead of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and even postponing the election. It finally decided on using EVMs of M3 type with 26,280 ballot units, 2,240 control units and 2,600 VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail). The election result in Nizamabad, which has 13.33 lakh voters, is likely to be among the last to be declared on May 23, the counting date.

S. Nagesh Kumar

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor