Voters at Telangana’s Nizamabad constituency will be using ballot papers instead of EVMs to cast their votes, and the reason is interesting, to say the least. The poll body has been forced to go back to paper ballots because the number of candidates is higher than EVMs can accommodate.
As many as 185 candidates have filed their nomination from Nizamabad, and over 90% of these contestants are farmers. Agitated over failure of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi to ensure minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce, these farmers decided to file their nomination as a mark of protest. The price of turmeric has fallen from ₹10,000 to ₹5,000 in last one year. Their demands include setting up a turmeric board. Notably, Nizamabad is a leading producer of turmeric.
“There are 185 contestants in the fray in Nizamabad. So we will be conducting the elections using ballot papers. Ballot papers have been used in the State in 1996 and 2010 and also in the recent Gram Panchayat elections held two months ago,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Telangana, Rajat Kumar told The Hindu.
And the farmers’s decision to contest polls from this constituency is also driven by one more reason. K Kavitha, Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi President K Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter, is seeking re-election from Nizamabad and what better way to draw her attention to the plight of farmers.
This already seems like a record, however, political observers say, this is the second biggest number after the 480 candidates who stood in the Nalgonda constituency during the 1996 elections.