443 candidates, including 170 farmers, in fray for Telangana
Hyderabad: Sticking to their guns, over 170 farmers remained in the fray in the Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency from where Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter K Kavitha is seeking re-election with withdrawal of nominations coming to an end Thursday.
The Election Commission said polls in Nizamabad would be conducted through paper ballot as there are 185 valid candidates.
Election officials said 60 nominations were withdrawn out of the 503 valid nominations.
A total of 443 candidates remained in the fray with Nizamabad topping the list with 185 candidates, a top state Election Commission official said.
Telangana Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar told reporters here there are 185 valid contesting candidates in Nizamabad.
"In Nizamabad we have to go (conduct polls) by ballot paper. This will be also referred to ECI to take approval for what kind of ballot paper we will use. Symbols have to be allotted.
ECI will give guidelines for design of ballot paper and we will print it," Kumar said.
The Election Commission would carry out awareness programmes in this regard, he said.
Earlier, Kumar had said if the number of contestants in a constituency exceeds 64 then the Election Commission would have to go (conduct polls) for paper ballot.
Telangana, with 17 Lok Sabha constituencies, goes to the polls in the first phase on April 11.
The farmers had filed their nominations protesting the alleged failure of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi to ensure minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce.
They are also demanding setting up of a turmeric board.
A total of 648 nominations were filed in the State of which 145 were rejected and 503 nominations were found to be in order after scrutiny, a release from Telangana Election Commission said on Wednesday.
A farmer leader said they have been seeking a remunerative price for turmeric and red jowar crops and for ensuring MSP for their produce for the past several days.
On the turmeric farmers issue, Kavitha had earlier said that she had worked hard for setting up of a turmeric board.
"I have introduced private member bill (in Parliament). No government cared for turmeric farmers.
Only the TRS government cared for turmeric farmers.
The TRS government gave Rs 2 lakh subsidy on boilers worth Rs 4 lakh.
KCR (as Telangana CM is referred to) worked for the welfare of farmers but Prime Minister Narendra Modi never cared for them," she said.
Raghupathy Reddy, a turmeric farmer who filed his nomination, said he was going ahead and contesting the elections over the demands.
Turmeric and red jowar farmers have been demanding an increase in the MSP for their produce.
Farmers have been seeking MSP of Rs 15,000 per quintal for turmeric and Rs 3,500 MSP per quintal of red sorghum.