Lakhimpur Kheri farmers to opt for NOTA in UP polls

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In October 3, eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violence during the farmers’ protest at Tikunia village in Lakhimpur Kheri….reports Asian Lite News

After residents of a village in Shamli district, it is now the farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri who have decided to use the NOTA option in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

The farmers, who have yet to come to terms with the October 3 incident, in which four farmers were allegedly mowed down by an SUV belonging to Union Minister Ajay Misra Teni’s son Ashish Misra, said that they feel ‘cheated’ by various political parties on the issue.

“Some parties have cheated us while others have proved ineffective,” said Gurwinder Singh, a local farmer.

“We have no hope from any political party,” he said, adding that the BJP, SP, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress gave them false assurances and want to “use us as commodities” during the elections.

On October 3, eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violence during the farmers’ protest at Tikunia village in Lakhimpur Kheri.

Union Minister Ajay Misra Teni’s son Ashish Misra is named as the prime accused and is in jail.

V.M. Singh, head of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, alleged that the SP and the BJP had “cheated” the farmers.

“The SP-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance and the BJP are fooling the farmers. Why should we support either of them?” he asked.

Farmers constitute the bulk of the population in Lakhimpur Kheri district located in the Terai belt.

They said that they will not support the BJP after the October 3 incident and neither do they want to support the Samajwadi Party which had waived off Rs 2,000 crore interest amount payable by sugarcane mill owners to the cultivators.

According to the Cane Control Order 1966, in case of non-payment of the outstanding cane price within 14 days, sugar mill owners will have to pay an interest of 15 per cent to the farmers.

However, the then SP government waived off this interest amount, which swelled up to about Rs 2,000 crore citing that the industry was going through a lean phase.

About 75 per cent of the farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district cultivate sugarcane. Nine sugar mills, run by co-operative organisations and the private sector, crush about 15 lakh quintals of sugarcane here.

Another farmer, Raj Singh, said, “Our children are unable to study and get married. We do not wish to vote for any party and will use the NOTA option.”

Earlier, a panchayat of the Kashyap community in Shamli district had announced that its members will not vote for any candidate in the upcoming Assembly polls as the government has not fulfilled their demand to shift 17 OBCs into the Scheduled Castes list.

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