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Documents show Amul expanded in Karnataka under Congress rule even as former CM Siddaramaiah says Modi is ‘coming to loot the state’ via Gujarat’s Amul

The Amul-Nandini controversy proved to be the opportune moment which Congress Party was looking for to take on the BJP before the state election

With the Karnataka assembly elections approaching, the Congress party, which is the primary opposition party in the state, has started playing dirty politics over milk by pitting Amul against Karnataka’s brand ‘Nandini’. Continuing his offensive against the ruling BJP, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Sunday (April 9) tweeted asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi if the purpose of his visit was “to loot the state.”

“Is your purpose of coming to Karnataka to give to Karnataka or to loot from Karnataka? You have already stolen banks, ports and airports from Kannadigas. Are you now trying to steal Nandini (KMF) from us?” Siddaramaiah asked.

“It was Gujarat’s Baroda Bank that subsumed our Vijaya Bank. Ports and Airports were handed over to Gujarat’s Adani. Now, Amul from Gujarat is planning to eat our KMF (Nandini). Mr Narendra Modi, Are we the enemies for Gujaratis?” Instead of giving 2 crore jobs a year to youths, Narendra Modi took away the jobs of Kannadigas from our banks, ports and airports, he further said, adding that “Now Karnataka BJP wants to hurt the prospects of our farmers by giving KMF to Amul.” Modi was in Mysuru and Chamarajanagara districts to attend an event commemorating 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’.

The former chief ministers’ tweets came ahead of PM Modi’s visit to the poll-bound state on Sunday.

Notably, on April 5, Amul’s official Twitter handle posted an infographic hinting at its entry into Karnataka. This proved to be the opportune moment which Congress Party was looking for to take on the BJP before the state election. Congress immediately linked the Amul infographic and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s December 2022 speech wherein he called for greater cooperation between Amul and Nandini, which is owned by the Karnataka Milk Federation to spread misleading information concerning Amul’s acquisition of the state’s local dairy brand Nandini. When the matter escalated and grew into a full-fledged controversy, Congress started milking it further for political gains.

Siddaramaiah, the Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister, purposefully used the Amul-Nandini controversy, which patently was created by him and members of his own party, to inflame regional tensions among Karnataka voters before the state elections. However, in his haste to bring down BJP, Siddaramaiah probably forgot that Amul had already expanded its footprints in the state when he was at the helm of affairs in 2017.

In fact, the minutes of Amul’s 2017 annual general meeting, clearly specified that in 2017 the cooperative launched Amul Milk in various parts of the country including towns in Northern Karnataka. While sharing details of how the sale of the cooperative increased in the last seven years then, the company categorically mentioned, “We expanded our fresh products’ footprint by launching Amul Milk in Chandigarh city, several towns of Himachal Pradesh, North Bengal including Siliguri, towns of northern Karnataka and most recently in Jabalpur.” The minutes of Amul’s 43rd annual general meeting can be read here.

Excerpts from Amul’s 43rd AGM

This meeting took place on June 15, 2017, and Congress senior leader Siddaramaiah served as Chief Minister of Karnataka from May 13, 2013, until May 17, 2018. This clearly indicates that Amul entered Karnataka in 2017, while the Congress was in power in the state and Siddaramaiah himself was the CM.

Additionally, the incumbent Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday clarified that his government had taken all kinds of measures to make Nandini number one at the national level. Calling the house brand Nandini the pride of Karnataka Bommai said, “Nandini’s market reach is wide, there is no need to fear Amul.” Congress politicising everything is not in the interest of the state, he had said.

“We are also going to other states and marketing….we will do all that is required to put Amul behind in the competition.” State Cooperation Minister S T Somashekar on Sunday reiterated that there was no proposal to merge KMF with Amul.

So to now imply that Amul is attempting to ‘root out’ Nandini by entering Karnataka and thus undermining Kannadiga identity and culture and that the Modi government wants to harm Kannadiga farmers’ prospects by giving Amul KMF is a complete fallacy that Congress is fanning for obvious political gain ahead of the upcoming crucial assembly elections.

Consumer goods are marketed all over the country and Congress’ claim that Amul being sold in Karnataka is a conspiracy to root out the state milk cooperative’s business is a baseless one. Customers buy products based on their own convenience and preference.

Congress tries to fan hatred against anything that comes from Gujarat

But why aren’t we surprised? That’s because the Congress Party’s disdain towards Gujarat and Gujaratis is nothing new. In reality, it emerged almost soon after Modi took office. Since the two top men (Narendra Modi and Amit Shah) running the nation are Gujaratis, and so by extension, Congress paints all Gujaratis as evil. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress blue-eyed boy, who promised to make India ‘hate-free’ in his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra,’ has conveniently forgot on countless occasions in the past that Gujarat is very much a part of Bharat. He has never left a single opportunity to insult Gujaratis.

In 2021, during the runup to the Assam elections, Rahul Gandhi said that to fund the extra wage rate of Assam tea workers, he will take money from Gujarati tea traders.

In September 2021, when authorities were busy busting drug rackets, which are often used for terror funding, Rahul Gandhi again attacked Gujaratis and cast aspersions that they are drug addicts.

During an election rally in the run-up to the 2019 elections, Rahul Gandhi had mocked an entire community in Gujarat by saying, “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi… how come they all have Modi as a common surname? How come all thieves have Modi as a common surname?” He has now been held guilty in this case and he is an out-on-bail convict.

When the police recently arrested a conman from Gujarat who posed as a member of the PMO entrusted with the responsibility of looking for improvement in hotel facilities in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress ecosystem and its elements fell over themselves to defame Gujarat and Gujaratis over the incident.

Siddharamiah, Congress senior party leader, has now taken up where his supremo left off. He has begun to spread this freshly woven anti-Gujarati rhetorics in order to attract votes and reestablish his stronghold in Karnataka. However, before moving ahead, the Congress should pause and consider that in their desperate attempt to reclaim a foothold in Karnataka, they are playing with fire. The party is presumably ignoring the fact that a former CM tweeting such disparaging remarks about a specific community when a sizable component of that population dwells there could jeopardise their lives. Will the party accept responsibility if the CM’s effort to pit Kannadigas against Gujaratis leads to the latter being victims of hate crime in the state?

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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