The father of India's white revolution, Verghese Kurien, used to donate money from the profit earned by the "Amul" dairy to Christian missionaries for religious conversions, senior Gujarat BJP leader Dileep Sanghani alleged Saturday.
When contacted, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF) chairman Ram Singh Parmar said, "We don't want to reply to such a bogus statement."
Kurien, who was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1999 for his work, passed away in 2012.
Addressing a gathering in Amreli town, located over 200 kms from here, as part of a rally, Sanghani said Kurien became more "popular" than the founder of the Anand Milk Producers Union Limited (AMPUL) or "Amul", "despite being only an employee".
The two-wheeler rally was organised in the run-up to Kurien's 97th birth anniversary, which falls on November 26. The day is celebrated as the National Milk Day.
"Kurien used to donate money to Christian missionaries from the profits earned by 'Amul', where poor farmers and milk producers of Gujarat deposited their hard-earned money. Kurien received support from the country because of the donations he gave to Christian missionaries," Sanghani said.
Sanghani, who is the vice-chairman of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and a former Gujarat minister, also said that despite being only an "employee", Kurien became more popular than Tribhuvandas Patel, who had founded the AMPUL under the guidance of the country's first deputy prime minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Sanghani stuck to his remarks on Kurien when asked by reporters later.
"It is true that Kurien donated money to Christian missionaries. I have information regarding this," Sanghani, who served as the minister of agriculture, cooperative and animal husbandry in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state between 2007 and 2012, said.
He added that it was "not justified" to forget Tribhuvandas Patel and only remember Kurien.
"Tribhuvandas Patel was the founder of Amul, whereas Kurien was just an employee. To forget Patel and only remember Kurien is not justified," the BJP leader said.
The GCMMF is the apex organisation of the dairy cooperatives of Gujarat which markets its products by the brand name of "Amul".
Founded in 1948, the Anand-based AMPUL is a dairy cooperative managed by the GCMMF.
Criticising Sanghani's remarks, state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said those reflected the "mentality" of BJP leaders and were not acceptable.
"Amul was created by visionary Tribhuvandas Patel and was given a new direction by Kurien, who ushered in a white revolution in the country.
"The BJP government is trying to privatise Amul and has created a condition where farmers and milk producers are reeling under a financial stress. Such statements are unacceptable and only reflect the mentality of BJP leaders," Doshi said.
Kurien was a social entrepreneur whose "billion-litre idea" -- Operation Flood -- revolutionised dairy farming in the country.
The "Operation Flood" is credited with making India the largest milk producer in the world from a milk-deficient nation, doubling the availability of milk per person and increasing the milk output four-fold.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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