With the race for 2019 Lok Sabha poll hotting up, the Yogi Adityanath government is set to break the stranglehold of its bête noir Samajwadi Party (SP) over cash rich cooperative bodies in Uttar Pradesh.
SP, the principal opposition party in UP, has over the years dominated all the big cooperative societies, which provide the much needed financial backing to the party even when it is out of power. There are more than 12,000 big and small cooperative societies in the state.
Now, the Adityanath government has amended sections 29 and 31 of the UP Cooperative Societies Act 1965. The SP leaders and supporters holding key positions in these bodies would lose unbridled control over these societies, which are endowed with financial and other assets worth billions of rupees respectively.
Last year, the Adityanath government had even promulgated an ordinance related to the Act, which had accorded sweeping powers to the state cooperatives registrar to appoint senior government officials as administrators.
Since, elections of top cooperatives societies in UP are due next year and the Lok Sabha poll is also scheduled in the first half of 2019, the weakening of the SP hold over these lucrative bodies would indirectly help ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In recent UP Budget Session, the Adityanath government had tabled UP Cooperatives Societies Amendment Bill 2017, which was passed by the legislature. Subsequently, Governor Ram Naik also put his seal of approval, thus paving the way for its implementation as an Act.
The nominated official would have the power to transfer, suspend and take action against erring employees of the societies, which was not possible under previously existing provisions.
Talking to Business Standard, UP cooperatives minister Mukut Bihari Verma said all the elected cooperative societies fall under the purview of the Act. “The Amendment provisions would become effective if the managing body of any society resigns prematurely, if the elections are delayed or if the courts pass any adverse order on the management.”
When the state had promulgated the Ordinance last year, SP had charged the Adityanath government with violating constitutional norms by issuing the Ordinance even after the announcement of dates of the forthcoming UP legislature's winter session.
Raising the issue in the house in December 2017, SP legislator and former cooperative minister Shivpal Singh Yadav had said the government announced the dates of the winter session on November 29, while the Governor gave his nod to Ordinance at a later date on December 7. However, UP parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Kumar Khanna countered the allegation saying an ordinance ought not be issued only when the house is in session. An ordinance is issued when Parliament or legislature is not in session, however, it has to be ratified by the house lest it becomes lapsed.