Hit your opponent where it hurts him most! Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is precisely doing this with his political opponent Chandrababu Naidu and the tool he is employing is dairy co-operatives.
During his regime former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is alleged to have destroyed the character of dairy cooperatives in the state by converting them into private entities and trusts, which were owned by his family and friends of TDP.
Some of the leaders of Jagan’s party accuse Chandrababu Naidu of doing this to safeguard the interests of his family-owned Heritage Group.
The young Chief Minister Jagan Reddy did not confront Naidu face to face, rather began a process which would weaken Naidu’s grip and dry up his purses. He invited GCMMF, pride of dairy co-ops in India, to do the job of reviving the dairy co-op movement in the state.
The bloodless surgery is paying off, say insiders. The first in the list was Sangam Dairy in Guntur. Its chairman and TDP former MLA Dhulipalla Narendra Kumar have been arrested on charges of irregularities and the dairy has been handed over to Amul for a facelift.
Though the Andhra Pradesh High Court has suspended the Government Order issued for taking over the Sangam Dairy last Friday, the controversy is far from over.
The hint of the building storm was given by Jagan Reddy during his padyatra in the run up to the elections. He signed an MoU with Amul and promised to raise the incomes of the dairy farmers.
A source says the deal with Amul aims to promote milk cooperative societies, especially those run by women, and generally develop the dairy sector in the state.
It is said over 5 lakh women who have received financial help under the YSR Cheyutha scheme are willing to establish small dairies across villages.
The chief minister said the agreement to be signed will bring about a huge change in the dairy sector especially helping women groups.
The new initiative will not only ensure remunerative prices for farmers but also enable them to access the latest technology. Sources say Amul’s entry will also ensure supply of quality products for the consumers.
Earlier, the Amul team visited several districts of the state to study the possibility of dairy development before submitting their report to the AP govt on the reorganization of the dairy sector for the benefit of milk producers.
Meanwhile, TDP has held a press conference accusing Jagan of handing over state dairy co-ops to Amul. Its spokesman K Pattabhi Ram said the state is giving dairy related properties worth more than Rs 2000 crore to Amul.