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Farmers from Tamil Nadu who were protesting at Jantar Mantar in November 2018, demanding a loan waiver and a drought-relief package, are now gearing up to contest Lok Sabha elections against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from his home turf Varanasi.
One hundred and eleven farmers are planning to file their nomination from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. Their leader, P Ayyakannu, confirmed this news with the Newsclick.
Ayyakannu, who is also the president of the National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers’ Association, told Newsclick, "Narendra Modi cheated the farmers of the country, and we do not want to let him fool us again. BJP had said in its manifesto before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that if Modi becomes the PM, they will double the profit of the farmers. But so far, he has not taken any step. We are reaching Varanasi on April 24, and have booked train tickets for 300 farmers. We will walk on the road undressed to show our resistance."
Also read: Kisan Mukti March: BJP Union Minister Criticises Farmers From Tamil Nadu
"We do not have any personal enmity with Modi, but we are fed up with his anti-farmers policies. We will not file nomination first, but we will ask people to collect money for our election deposit, which is Rs 25,000 each. We know that we will lose the election against Modi, as he is very powerful. But, at the same time, we will express our solidarity; we will express our poverty; we will tell people how the central government has not helped the farmers,” he said.
Extending support to the farmers’ organisations, V M Singh, convenor of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, told Newsclick, “This protest is symbolic of Modi’s unfulfilled promises. Farmers from across the country will be in Varanasi with them.”
The BJP government is diverting the attention of the public from farmers’ issues to nationalism, he alleged.
When asked about the impact on electoral politics, Singh said, “This is not the electoral politics they are entering, but they are telling the nation that farmers have been deprived of their rights by the Modi government. So, it will impact and expose the lies of Modi.”
In 2017, these Tamil farmers had protested at Jantar Mantar in Delhi with skulls and bones of the people who had killed themselves due to the mounting debts.
Meanwhile, Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad also announced that he will be contesting from Varanasi constituency against PM Modi. The announcement was done by Azad during 'Bahujan Hunkar Rally' in Delhi's Jantar Mantar.
Also read: Cauvery Protests Intensify in TN, Farmers demand Cauvery Management Board