Tiruchirappalli: After taking their protests to the national capital to highlight their demands, Tamil Nadu (TN) farmers are gearing up for an electoral battle and will file 111 nominations from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting.
Tamil Nadu farmers’ leader P Ayyakannu said Saturday that 111 farmers from the state will contest against Modi from Varanasi.
Ayyakannu, who is also president of the National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers Association, said the decision to contest en masse the polls from Varanasi was to urge the BJP to include in their manifesto that their demands, including ‘profitable prices for farm produce’, would be fulfilled.
Speaking to this agency, Ayyakannu, who spearheaded agitations in Delhi in 2017 for over 100 days, said the ‘moment they (BJP) assure in their manifesto that our demands will be fulfilled, we will drop our decision to contest against Modi’.
The decision to contest polls has the support of farmers everywhere in India as well as the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Ayyakannu informed.
Asked why they were raising the demand with BJP alone and not other parties like the Congress to include it in their manifestos, he said the BJP was still the ruling party and Modi the Prime Minister.
Parties like the DMK and the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam have assured full loan waiver, which is also one of the farmers’ demands, in their manifestos, Ayyakannu stated.
“We are not against the BJP or Modi ji. Before assuming power, Modi ji promised fulfilling our demands and assured to double our income. Even today he is our Prime Minister and the BJP is the ruling party and that is why we are making this demand to them,” stated Ayyakannu.
Ayyakannu informed that 300 train tickets for farmers have already been booked for them to travel to Varanasi.
The BJP-led government at the Centre had promised to fulfill their demands including profitable prices for farm produce, loan waiver from all banks including nationalized and co-operative and Rs 5,000 pension for farmers over 60, Ayyakannu said.
It should be stated here that in November 2018, farmers led by Ayyakannu had gone to Delhi with two ‘skulls’, to take part in a kisan rally. He had then said that the skulls belonged to their colleagues who had allegedly committed suicide over debt.