THE BHARATIYA Janata Party (BJP) stopped the practice of its leaders forming alliance with Congress leaders in cooperative elections with the move resulting in “numerous” BJP leaders getting elected, said Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil on Sunday.
Addressing the joint annual general meeting (AGM) of seven district-level cooperative bodies in Jamkandorna village in Rajkot, Paatil said, “Cooperative leaders used to fight elections in alliance with Congress. There was ILU… ILU (I love you) in the cooperative sector. We stopped it and said that a BJP leader will fight an election only after getting the mandate of the party. Thereby, we stopped the practice of people holding posts in the party and in the cooperative sector simultaneously… As a result… numerous BJP leaders have fought such elections and won.”
After Paatil took over as the president of the Gujarat unit of the BJP in July 2020, the party started taking keen interest in cooperative body elections which are not fought on party symbols. Until recently, cooperative leaders of Congress and BJP used to share power in cooperative bodies, especially of farmers’ cooperatives such as district cooperative banks, milk cooperatives, agricultural produce market committees (APMCs), etc. However, from last year, BJP started issuing mandates for its official candidates in such elections.
The BJP president said the move has yielded results. “Of the 365 major cooperative institutes, the BJP won 318. The rest are going to poll in coming days and I assure you, leaders of BJP will win them with your help and cooperation,” said Paatil.
He added that all the 17 district cooperative banks, Gujarat State Cooperative Bank (GSC Bank), Kheti Bank (Gujarat State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank), all sugar factories and all milk cooperatives, save Amul, are run by BJP workers these days.
The joint AGM of seven district-level cooperative bodies of Rajkot was held
under the aegis of Rajkot District Cooperative Bank headed by former minister Jayesh Radadiya who is a native of Jamkandorna.
Paatil said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked the most for welfare of farmers and that was the reason he formed a new ministry called Ministry of Cooperation and handed its charge to Amit Shah who has experience of working in the cooperative sector.
Addressing the joint AGM, Agriculture, Cooperative and Farmers Welfare Minister Raghavji Patel said that the cooperative model of Gujarat has inspired cooperative movement in the country.
Minister of State for Panchayat, Brijesh Merja, Minister of State for Transport, Arvind Raiyani, Rajkot MP Mohan Kundariya, Rajkot District Cooperative Bank chairman Jayesh Radadiya, who is also a sitting BJP MLA, GCS Bank chairman Ajay Patel were among those present.