Giving in to mounting pressure, Verghese Kurien, the father of the country’s “white revolution”, has finally quit as chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the Amul brand.
Kurien called a press conference in Anand today to announce his resignation in the wake of the decision of the GCMMF board of directors to oust him from his post.
“‘My decision is in deference to the recent order passed by the Gujarat High Court on the issue of co-option of members on the management committee of the co-operative bodies in the state. Therefore, I have taken the decision, believing in the rule of law and principles of co-operatives,” he said.
The octogenarian, who has headed the GCMMF for over three decades, has been in conflict with National Dairy Development Board Chairperson Amrita Patel, once his protégé, for mooting the idea of corporatising cooperatives.
Reacting to Kurien’s move, Patel said, “I am truly saddened that it has happened in this way. Kurien has without doubt made an invaluable contribution to the growth of our co-operative dairy industry.”
There is considerable uncertainty over who will succeed Kurien. A close associate of Kurien said Vipul Chowdhary, chairperson of the Mehsana District Dairy, could be the next chairman of the GCMMF.
“In the next board meeting, we will decide the successor. We will try to convince Kurien to be adviser to the next chairman,” he said.
Talking to the media, Kurien said, “Today, under the control of the present chairman of the National Dairy Development Board, all that has been accomplished lies under threat.”
According to him, dairy farmers and their federations are losing their say because of the NDDB. “The NDDB is building its own empire,” he added.
But, justifying the transformation of the co-operative bodies, Patel said, “The NDDB is turning co-operative bodies into professional entities.”