Considering the upcoming assembly election in Gujarat, the cooperative sector has gained visibility as a vote bank. Political analysts say cooperatives as the bread and butter of millions of people living in the countryside have become an important factor in Gujarat politics.
In fact, their support would make or mar the electoral fortunes of a political party. This is what explains why Congress and BJP are trying every possible course of action in order to woo the people associated with cooperatives in the state.
A source keeping close tabs on the cooperative sector says the BJP has an advantage with its members controlling all the important milk cooperative unions.
The party is supposed to have put in untiring efforts over the last few years to strengthen the cooperative sector in Gujarat. It is pointed out that during the days when Narendra Modi was at the helm in the state, GCMMF that owns Amul had registered an unprecedented growth- the cooperative’s turnover jumping from Rs. 8,000crore to a whopping Rs. 27, 000 crore.
On the other hand, is advanced an argument that cooperatives have been operational since Independence, the Congress had done all in its power to promote cooperatives throughout the country.
Jawahar Lal Nehru an ardent supporter of the cooperative model helped create such conditions as would encourage cooperatives to flourish in the country’s mixed economy. The success of the cooperative model is therefore Congress’s exclusive handiwork, run the argument.
While Amul founder Tribhuvandas Patel was apolitical, the late Verghese Kurien – the father of Operation Flood – did his best to prevent milkmen from turning into a vote bank, striking a different note say knowledgeable political sources.
Most political observers, however, seem to look on BJP with favor expecting the cooperative sector to rally around them in the crucial poll.