The Gujarat election results not only sprung surprises in political circles, but also shocked the cooperative sector, with some of the prominent names from the BJP camp losing the polls. However, experts don’t foresee any damage to the cooperative structure, as government support is likely to continue even for those who lost on a BJP ticket.

Sitting minister and Chairman of Banaskantha District Milk Cooperative Union (Banas Dairy), Shankar Chaudhary, was defeated by Geniben Thakor of Congress from Vav constituency. Another big loss was that of Ramsinh Parmar, Chairman of Kaira District Milk Cooperative Union (Amul Dairy), who lost from Thasra constituency. Parmar, sitting MLA from Thasra, had resigned from the Congress in July and joined the BJP in August. He was the only representative in ₹38,000-crore Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the apex body of milk cooperatives.

The 18 district dairy unions of Gujarat are members of the GCMMF board. At present, all the members are supported by the BJP, virtually making the State’s milk cooperative sector a BJP stronghold. The loss of cooperative heavyweights in the recently-concluded Assembly polls indicates the shrinking stature of the BJP-supported cooperative leaders. This could pose a major challenge for the party when GCMMF, the country’s largest milk cooperative, goes to polls early next year.

"The Patidar wave and the disruptions due to negative campaigning by the Congress caused these losses. But this will not have any impact on the BJP’s hold over the cooperatives. The party is still in the power and therefore the government support will remain for all the candidates,” said Ghanshyam Amin, former president of the National Cooperative Union of India.