The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is taking legal opinion and preparing to challenge the state cabinet’s decision on Tuesday to bar suspended directors of cooperative banks from contesting for re-election for two terms, as the move is likely to hit several of the party’s senior leaders.
Party leader Hasan Mushrif, current chairman of the Kolhapur District Central Cooperative bank, said the government cannot implement an amendment with retrospective effect, and thus, will definitely challenge the decision in court.
“It feels like the government has taken the decision especially to trap me. Cooperation Minister, Chandrakant Patil is an MLC from Kolhapur but has no connect with the people there and has failed to make any inroads there. So, the government is trying to get me out of the picture,” Mushrif, an MLA from Kagal in Kolhapur district said.
Mushrif was on the board of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank with several other NCP politicians such as Ajit Pawar, Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, Dilip Sopal, Amarsinh Pandit, Manikrao Patil Rajendra Jain and so on. The board, which was disbanded in 2011 after directions from the RBI for being mired in losses to the tune of Rs 1,100 crore, also had several Congress politicians, as well as BJP’s Pandurang Phundkar and Shiv Sena’s Anandrao Adsul.
Mushrif was also on the previous board of the Kolhapur District Central Cooperative Bank that was dissolved about four years ago for irregularities. He was re-elected board chairman a few months ago.
The Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday approved an ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, to bar directors of all cooperative banks whose board has been dissolved, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s directions, for mismanagement, from re-contesting elections for two terms. The amendment will also be applicable in retrospective effect for all cases where the board has been dissolved in line with the Central bank’s guidelines for the past ten years. The proposal will now be submitted to the Governor for final approval.
A majority of these banks are controlled by Congress and NCP leaders. Senior Congress and NCP leaders such as Ashok Chavan, Radha Krishna Vikhe patil, Patangrao Kadam, NCP’s Pawar, Mohite Patil, Dilip Walse Patil and so on have been actively involved in the politics of the district cooperative banks.
Nawab Malik, NCP spokesperson, said, “We are talking legal opinion from experts. The decision is clearly prompted by the BJP’s inability to get a foothold in the cooperatives sector so far.”
Meanwhile, Congress’ Sachin Sawant said the Congress will wait for the government’s next step before taking any action. “This is just a cabinet decision. We will wait till the Governor signs his approval on the ordinance and it is brought before the legislature. We will voice our protests then,” he said.