Elections to the state’s three-tier cooperative bodies have sparked off a controversy,with the Samajwadi Party accusing the BSP government of using state machinery to dislodge it from cooperative institutions.
The SP,with its strong rural base the inheritor of the non-Congress,non-BJP political space once occupied by Lok Dal of Charan Singh has traditionally enjoyed a dominant position in cooperative bodies.
The party is now crying foul over the postponing of elections in the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) in seven districts,identified as its core area.
The three-tier cooperative bodies include PACS at the village,block and tehsil level,the central cooperative societies at district level and the apex body at the state level.
Elections in PACS in all 71 districts of the state were scheduled for July 9. The next day election of chairman and vice-chairman of the PACS was to be held the day after.
Elections in seven districts were postponed by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies without assigning any reason, said Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Shiv Pal Yadav. We are flooded with complaints from every corner of the state that SP candidates were either not allowed to file their nominations papers or their papers were rejected without assigning any reason.
The Cooperative Department,however,denies the charge. The elections were postponed on the reports of the district magistrates that the electoral rolls were not updated and included names of persons who died years ago. The elections in PACS of seven districts will be completed by September-end, said BP Singh,Additional Registrar,Cooperatives (Elections).
The brass tacks
Each PACS elects nearly two dozen delegates. They constitute the electoral college for delegates to the district-level bodies,which,in turn,elects the delegates for the apex bodies. The delegates for the state-level bodies,or the directors,later elect the chairman of the apex bodies,like UP Cooperative Bank,UP Consumer Cooperative Federation,UP Cooperative Rural Development Bank Ltd,etc.
So,capturing the PACS is crucial for gaining control of the co-operative bodies at all levels.
Also,the nearly 7,000 PACS,spread in every nook and corner of the state,are the most important vehicle for disbursing short-term agriculture credit to farmers.
In 2008-09,the 50 District Cooperative Banks (DCBs),through a network of 6,774 PACS,disbursed short-term agriculture loan of Rs 2,040 crore and recovered Rs 2,098 crore of agriculture loans from farmers.
During the current fiscal,as much as Rs 1,567 crore is targeted to be injected in the 6,774 PACS for their revival by NABARD,as recommended by the Vaidyanathan committee. The Centre had constituted this committee for working out the revival package of the PACS and DCBs.
The seven districts where elections have been postponed are Etawah,Auriaya,Kannauj,Mainpuri,Farrukhabad,Jalaun and Jhansi.
* The SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is the parliamentarian from Mainpuri.
* Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh Yadav is the MP from Kannauj
* The Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly,Shivpal Singh Yadav,the younger brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav,is an MLA from Etawah’s Jaswant Nagar seat.