The Congress retained its control over the country’s first dairy co-operative union, the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union, popularly known as Amul Dairy, by winning nine out of eleven seats of the board of the union for which results were declared Wednesday, paving the way for Congress MLA Ramsinh Parmar to become its chairman for the fourth time in a row.
Of the 17 dairy cooperative unions in the state that are represented on the board of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the apex marketing body that markets Amul brand of milk and milk-products, Amul Dairy is the only one under Congress control. Rest of the sixteen unions are under the control of the ruling BJP party.
Amul Vikas Panel, represented by members affiliated to Congress, won nine out of thirteen seats of Amul Dairy board, while BJP-led Amul Parivartan Panel won one seat. One seat went to an independent candidate. Chairman of the Nadiad Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Vipul Patel represented the BJP-panel. Results were declared for eleven seats, as Parmar and Patel had remained uncontested on Thasra and Matar seats, respectively. With this, Congress controls ten seats, while BJP controls two and independent one.
The win comes as a respite for Congress which faced strong challenge from BJP, which managed to make fresh inroads by winning two seats. Previously, Congress-affiliated members held control over all thirteen seats on the board of Amul Dairy.
A total 30 contestants were in the fray for 13 seats, with each seat divided on the basis of blocks where one block comprised of around hundred milk societies. Amul Dairy represents milk societies from three districts—Kheda, Anand and parts of Mahisagar. Members of two seats won uncontested while an independent candidate won one of the eleven seats for which elections were held.
“This is the first election of a dairy union in the state that was held after amendments in the Gujarat Cooperative Societies Act came into effect. Among other changes, the seats were divided on the basis of blocks, each block consisting of around a hundred milk societies. Previously, one voter would cast his vote for all thirteen seats. Now, he can cast his for vote only one seat on the basis of the milk society that he represents. Also, the tenure of the board will be of five years as against three years previously,” returning officer and deputy collector BS Patel said.
Elections were held on Tuesday after a gap of nearly six years, as no elections could be held in 2012 owing to litigation in the High Court against amendments in the state cooperative societies act. Among the winners were Tejas Patel from Patlad, who contested as an independent candidate, and Pappu Pathak from Balasinor, who was backed by the BJP-led Amul Parivartan Panel.
Talking to The Indian Express, Parmar, who is all set to be selected as the chairman of the new board of the Amul Dairy, said that the BJP members managed to win two seats and an independent candidate held control over one seat because of changes in the Act which he had contested in the High Court. “The division of seats on the basis of blocks made the fight straight, giving opportunity for the BJP to win two seats. Earlier, the voters had to vote for general seats. Changes in the patter of voting made it possible for the BJP to win two seats,” he said.
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