One constituency that was looking closely at the Union budget speech by Nirmala Sitharaman was Nizamabad in Telangana. That’s because the hopes of many in this north Telangana Lok Sabha constituency were pinned on the Finance minister announcing a National Turmeric Board with its headquarters in Nizamabad. To their disappointment, it was not to be.
Turmeric was at the heart of the election in Nizamabad with 178 farmers contesting the election as independents. Their ire was directed at sitting MP and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha who had not succeeded in getting the Turmeric Board and better remunerative prices for their crop despite lobbying for it.
The election was a trendsetter. Twelve EVMs were used in every polling station and the independents together polled 97000 votes, with turmeric farmer Lachanna netting over 6000 votes. The victory margin between the BJP winner D Arvind and Kavitha who came second, was 70000 votes.
Another hallmark of the election was Arvind giving an undertaking on bond paper that if he did not succeed in getting the Turmeric Board and remunerative prices, he will resign as MP.
While a month is too short a time for the constituents to expect Arvind to make the Turmeric Board a reality, the fact is that the MP only raised expectations by giving an impression that it was a matter of time before the BJP government at the Centre delivered on its pre-poll promise. With Sitharaman giving it the go-by, it has proved to be an embarrassment.
Incidentally, BJP president Amit Shah is in Telangana on Saturday to kickstart the party membership drive and build on the gains in the Lok Sabha elections. But the mood in Nizamabad is less than ebullient. The TRS has criticised the Modi government for ignoring its other demands to grant national status to Kaleshwaram irrigation project and funds for the Kakatiya Textile park in Warangal.