A group of 50 farmers from Telangana are contesting as Independents against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi in the ongoing national election.
The turmeric farmers from Telangana's Nizamabad, however, claim that they simply want to highlight their problems by taking on PM Modi. "We are not opposing anyone. We just want to highlight our problems and demand creation of a turmeric board and Minimum Support Price of Rs. 15,000 per quintal (MSP) for turmeric," a spokesperson for the farmers said while speaking to news agency ANI.
The farmers claim that their problems were not addressed under both the ruling BJP government and Cnogress-led United Progressive Alliance(UPA) government. "This was not solved during UPA's tenure too. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did the same. We are not against him or campaigning against anyone," he said.
Turmeric farmers across the country are facing hardships due to lack of minimum support price for the last three to four years. This year, turmeric prices have fallen to Rs 3,200 per quintal from Rs 5,200 per quintal.
PM Modi had filed his nomination for Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency on April 26. The nomination was show of strength of the NDA, with top allies accompanying PM Modi for the nomination.
PM Modi is contesting against Congress's Ajay Rai and Samajwadi Party leader Shalini Yadav. This would be the second time Prime Minister Modi and Mr Rai will battle from Varanasi seat.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Modi won from Varanasi by a margin of 3.37 lakh votes. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Mr Rai were among the candidates from the seat. While Mr Kejriwal came in the second place, Mr Rai stood third in the vote tally.
Varanasi votes on May 19 in the last round of the Lok Sabha election. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
(With inputs from ANI)