With the creation of ministry of cooperation and giving Union home minister Amit Shah the additional charge, the Modi government seems to have opened new doors in politics with focus on Maharashtra. It would be interesting to see how Shah would steer the ministry, given his extensive experience in cooperatives of Gujarat.
A new chapter
Shah is often called as the Chanakya of Indian politics, the troubleshooter of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As the party president from 2014 to 2019, Shah played a crucial role in helping the party win maximum seats in any given election. Now, he will start a new chapter in cooperation. As an old cooperative leader of Gujarat, Shah has a vast experience in handling crises at the grass-root levels.
Cooperatives in Gujarat
Maharashtra was one of the pioneers of the cooperative movement in India between 1960 and 1980. Today, the dominance of cooperatives is seen more in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka than any other state. The Modi-Shah duo’s strong experience in cooperative politics was perhaps why a separated ministry was created.
Focus on Maharashtra
The foundation of cooperatives is strong in Maharashtra and they play a huge role in the politics of the state. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has a strong influence on the cooperative sector.
In the 2019 state assembly elections, when no party got an absolute majority, tension was palpable in BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP. Shah’s intention to form the BJP-led government was not supported by Pawar. Thus, with the new cooperative ministry, Shah could bring in a huge influence in the politics of Maharashtra.
Shah’s experience in cooperatives and as the former president of Ahmedabad District Co-Operative Bank could be a game changer for Maharashtra and other states.
A boost to cooperation in the country
BJP MLA from Gujarat Ramanbhai Patel said Shah’s experience will give a boost to the cooperatives in the country, which will also benefit farmers.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Congress spokesperson Jayraj Singh said the government has an influence on the cooperative organisations of the state. But Congress too has contributed a lot towards cooperatives in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka.