Ahmedabad: With Gujarat Congress pressing for a state nominee as Chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the wrangle for the coveted post has intensified stirring the dairy co-operative sector politics here.
Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia has written a letter recently to the Centre, saying that the NDDB chief should be from Gujarat, sources in the party said.
He has also recommended names of present Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) chief Vipul Chaudhary and Anand Dairy Milk Producers Union head Ramsinh Parmar to the Centre, they said.
NDDB Chairman Amrita Patel had in September this year shown her unwillingness to continue in the post after her third five year term expired in November. But she has been given a three-month extension.
The Government has formed a high panel to search for a suitable candidate for the post in the dairy sector.
Chaudhary, the high profile chairman of GCMMF, the largest dairy of Asia which markets its products with the brand name Amul, has started lobbying for the post much in advance after knowing Patel’s intentions.
Interestingly, Chaudhary who was in Congress earlier, had crossed over to BJP before he was made the Chairman of GCMMF with the support of BJP union members in Amul.
Chaudhary, who also heads the Dudhsagar Dairy of Mehsana had met Rahul Gandhi during his visit to the state in October with the help of Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, who is considered to be the political guide of Chaudhary to lobby for the post and his return in Congress.
This led to severe repercussions as the BJP largely controls the co-operative dairy unions of the state which are members of GCMMF. They moved a no-confidence motion against Chaudhary to remove him as GCMMF Chairman which was passed by 15 to 2 votes.
However, Chaudhary has approached High Court and Supreme Court against the motion and will continue to head GCMMF till further court ruling.
Though no BJP dairy co-operative leader has come forward to stake the claim for NDDB top post as the appointment will be made by the UPA government for the next three years, the saffron party is not happy with Chaudhary’s move.
As per dairy sector sources, others in the race for post are former Managing Director of GCMMF B M Vyas, few other high ranking officials of NDDB besides Chaudhary and Parmar.
Now, this recommendation by Gujarat Congress of giving the post to somebody from the state is likely to further stir the dairy co-operative politics of the state.
NDDB, founded in 1965 after the success of GCMMF to bring the white revolution (under Dr Vargeesh Kurian), began its operations with the mission of making dairying a vehicle to a better future for millions of grassroots milk producers.
Presently, NDDB is implementing the World Bank-assisted central scheme-National Dairy Plan- with a total outlay of Rs 2,242 crore, aimed at boosting the country’s milk production.
NDDB targets to cover 23,800 more villages and 12 lakh milk producers in India, during the first phase of the National Dairy Plan (NDP) to achieve a milk production target of 155 million tonnes by 2016-17.