Uttarakhand readies for co-op election, Congress sceptic

The cooperative polls in Uttarakhand are round the corner. A day before yesterday the state unit of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) constituted a five member committee for the elections which will start from 12 July and be completed by February 2019.

One of the members of the committee Dan Singh Rawat informed this correspondent on the phone, “The election process of PACS Societies, District Cooperative Banks and that of the state-level apex body federations of various co-operative sectors will go on for eight months. In the first phase, 670 PACS will go to the polls. While 12 July is the day of nominations for PACS, the elections for the Board of Directors of PACS would be held on 22nd July, Rawat underlined.

“There are 759 PACS in all in Uttarakhand but elections will be held for only 670 PACS”, he said. Those not going for elections are the ones which are either defunct or unviable for a variety of reasons, added Rawat.

In the next phase ten District Cooperative Banks, 13 State level apex cooperative federations will go to the polls. We are sure, BJP will win the elections. Our cooperators from various districts have met several times to hammer out a strategy to win the elections” said Rawat who is also the Chairman of Uttarakhand State Cooperative Bank.

The members in the committee are state general secretaries Naresh Bansal, Gajraj Singh Bisht and Khajan Das, Chairman Uttarakhand Cooperative Bank Dan Singh Rawat and Chairman Uttarakhand Cooperative Federation Ghanshyam Nautiyal.

It is learnt that more than 15 lakh members are associated with these societies directly or indirectly.

After assuming office, the BJP government has changed the name of PACCS society into Multi Purpose Cooperative Society and it is worth a mention that most PACS are controlled by the Congress party.

Earlier, Uttarakhand PACS’ office bearers’ had knocked on the door of High Court against the state government appointed Administrators in all these societies without carrying out the required election process. Later on, accepting the argument of PACS, the High Court had asked the state government to hold elections to these societies in three months.

Congress cooperators are, however, skeptical that the nomination and the subsequent election process would be held in a fair manner. They quote the example of the recently concluded election of Uttar Pradesh which was marred by allegations of irregularities and unfair means.

It is indeed sad that co-op elections are till date conducted in a partial manner which in turn leads to weakening of the cooperative movement. The party in power employs every trick in the book to have its nominees control the levers of co-op powers. The recently conducted elections –be it in UP or in Tamilnadu are examples in which scores of petitions were filed in the court alleging irregularities.

This highlights the importance of the 97th Constitutional Amendment which envisioned a separate Election Authority for cooperative elections. It is high time, a crusader like T N Seshan appeared again on the cooperative horizon to clear the muck associated with these elections. Alas, the govt of the day have never shown any interest!

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