bjp: Amit Shah warns MVA: Play fair, or else face action

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Home and cooperation minister Amit Shah accused the Maha Vikas Aghadi government of “biased behaviour” towards cooperatives and warned that he will not remain an “idle spectator”. Stating that bank guarantees are not being issued to sugar mills in Maharashtra with links to opposition leaders, he said the Centre will bring in changes to the multi state cooperative laws and also a new cooperative policy.

“The state government has been helping out sugar factories on the basis of who runs these boards and what their political affiliation is. Will you arrange finance for cooperatives on the basis of which party the people managing them belong to? Is this the right way?” Shah said at a function in Ahmednagar on Saturday.

The Union minister was on a two-day tour of Maharashtra.

“Why do we at the Centre have to give hearings to the issues of cooperatives in the state. Why are these issues not being resolved in the state? Some people’s issues are getting resolved and some are not being resolved… I can only say that I will not be a silent spectator to this biased behaviour.”

Shah further said, “We will bring a new cooperative policy to strengthen the cooperative movement… Whatever is needed to be done to strengthen the cooperative movement will be done by the Centre.”

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has already raised objections to the Banking Regulation Act amendments and to giving powers to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to intervene in cooperative banks. Pawar had also objected to the RBI appointing directors to run cooperative banks.

In his speech on Saturday, Shah brushed aside Pawar’s concerns as he said, “We need to remove shortcomings (in the cooperative movement)… At one time every district had a cooperative bank, but now only three (district cooperative) banks remain. What happened? How did scams of thousands of crores happen? Did the RBI do it?”

Shah backed the amendments to the banking regulation law, saying, “We need to modernise the cooperative movement, we need to bring in professionals. They need to be given appropriate responsibility, only then would the cooperative movement last another 100 years.”

He said a committee of secretaries has been formed to get the sectors not linked with cooperatives into the cooperative movement.

The Centre’s move to change the cooperative laws could hurt the ruling NCP and Congress in Maharashtra, where the two parties wield influence over voters in the hinterland through the cooperative movement.

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