Interesting tales around the IFFCO elections are hitting the headlines with some of the candidates even accusing chief ministers of states of influencing RGB members for candidates of their choice. A case in point is an RGB member Uttam Patil of Karnataka.
Patil, who filed nomination for a Board position says that his opponent K S Gowda is active roping in the state Chief Minister in his favor. Gowda is a senior cooperator who is also the Chairman of IFFCO-Tokio, an insurance arm of fertilizer titan IFFCO.
Another case before Indian Cooperative is that of Ajaybhai Patel, a formidable cooperator from Gujarat. Patel who filed nomination for a Board position frankly admitted to Indian Cooperative that Gujarat Chief Minster Vijay Rupani wanted him not to contest and allow Jayesh Radadia to get elected unopposed.
While, in the case of Gujarat the issue may have been amicably solved as both the cooperators belong to the same party BJP and there is understanding between the two candidates-Patel and Radadia, the scenario in Karnataka is different and it may not be a cakewalk for Gowda on 10th May, sources add.
Talking to Indian Cooperative Uttam Patil said “Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is taking personal interest in the IFFCO election. The chief minister is supposed to have asked M N Rajendra Kumar (Outgoing director of IFFCO from marketing federation constituency) not to support Uttam Patil and instead support K Srinivasa Gowda.”
While the nomination papers are being scrutinized, there is muted speculation that Patil may withdraw himself from the contest. It bears recall that Srinivasa Gowda is the sitting MLA from Janata Dal (Secular) from Kolar, Karnataka.
In a telephonic chat with Indian Cooperative Uttam Patil narrated a recent meeting of RGB members with KS Gowda. “On Sunday a meeting was held in Hubli where more than 25 RGB members were present. Gowda urged members to support him in the election and give him one more chance as it will be his last term”, narrated Patil.
Uttam Patil also talks of temptations being offered to him by rival candidates to opt out of race. Patil further added that, ”Gowda fears that he will lose his seat. Gowda and Rajendra Kumar said they do something for me if I do not contest the election,” charged Patil.
More than KS Gowda, Patil blames Rajendra Kumar for ditching him in the last moment. “I filed my nomination papers only after he agreed to support me. Rajendra Kumar; had earlier shown preference for me but now he has changed his mind, perhaps due to pressure from the top, said Patil hinting at the chief Ministerial interference.
Bogged down in the situation, Patil rushed to meet IFFCO MD Dr U S Awasthi in Delhi, who assured him of fair play and transparency. “But in a highly localized (Karnataka in this case) atmosphere, it is up to the RGB members of that constituency to take a call; MD or Returning Officer cannot be of any help, said an election officer at the IFFCO headquarters.
There are around 69 votes from Karnataka which fall in a single constituency. More than 40 percent RGB members are new comers and that is one reason why the outgoing Director Gowda is finding it like many others tough this time round.
Patil insinuates that Karnataka Minister D K Shivakumar is also interfering in the election.