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Opposition Sees Red over Amul's Entry to Karnataka, Calls it Attempt to Finish off State's Nandini Brand

The opposition parties have charged that the BJP government was out to finish Karnataka Milk Federation's famed dairy brand 'Nandini'.
Nandini Milk

Image credit: KMF 

A political slugfest broke out between the ruling BJP, and opposition Congress and JD(S) on Saturday over the "threat" to Karnataka Milk Federation's famed dairy brand 'Nandini' following Amul's entry to the state.

Three days ago, Gujarat-based cooperative society Amul tweeted: "A new wave of freshness with milk and curd is coming to Bengaluru. More information coming soon. #LaunchAlert. From Kengeri to Whitefield, wishing everyone a Taaza day."

In another tweet, the dairy brand said, "The #Amul family is bringing in some Taaza into #Bengaluru city. More updates coming in soon. #LaunchAlert. Taaza arriving soon in Bengaluru."

While the opposition parties have charged that the BJP government was out to finish Nandini, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the government is clear on the issue of Amul.

Accusing Congress of politicising Amul's entry to Karnataka, Bommai said: "We have absolute clarity with regard to Amul. Nandini is a national brand. It's not restricted to Karnataka. We have popularised Nandini as a brand in other states as well.”

He added that not only has milk production increased in the state but incentives have also been given to the milk producers.

The chief minister stressed that several major dairies of KMF in the state have been established during BJP rule.

"Production and number of products have increased. There is a market too (for Nandini products). Hence, Nandini will become a number one brand in some days," Bommai said. The Chief Minister said the state is selling Nandini in other states as well.

"There is no need to be afraid of Amul. Our Nandini is an established brand. We will take all the steps to give Amul a tough competition," he pointed out.

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar too hit out at the Congress for giving a political colour to the issue.

Stating that in a globalised economy, any product can be exported or imported from any country, the minister reminded Congress that the policy related to globalisation was brought in by the Congress itself.

He appealed to the opposition members not to limit Nandini Milk to Karnataka alone since the brand has already made its presence in Maharashtra and now it was trying to enter Delhi.

"Our milk is going to the defence services. Nandini Ghee is used for making laddus in Tirupati. KMF is a model for the entire country."

Sudhakar said already there are 16 to 18 private firms selling their dairy products in Karnataka such as, Heritage, Dodla and Arokya but the Congress never remembered Nandini when these brands entered the state.

Hitting out at the Congress he said: "Does Amul mean BJP and Nandini Congress? Are you building such narratives? Should you insult our farmers, our system and our institutions this way? This must be stopped.”

Earlier in the day, AICC general secretary and Karnataka party in-charge Randeep Surjewala raised the issue alleging that the BJP was trying to "sell off" Nandini.

Surjewala tweeted, "BJP conspiracy to sell off Karnataka Milk Federation to Gujarat's Amul is now clear. 1st, Mr. Amit Shah said it openly. Now, Ms. Shobha Karandlje supports it. NANDINI LOSES, AMUL GAINS, BOMMAI GOVT REMAINS ‘MUTE’ ! Save NANDINI, Vote BJP out !"

Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy too flayed the state government on this issue in a series of tweets.

"Now there is a 3rd plot to finish the lifeline of Kannadigas Nandini. Plot-1: Merger of Nandini with Amul; Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement. Plot-2: Print the Hindi word 'Dahi' on curd."

"Both plots failed due to strong opposition from Kannadigas. The central government through Amul is going to make the 3rd plot successful," he said.

Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) second-in-command, alleged that Amul has this 'bad thinking' to finish off its lone competitor Nandini in Karnataka itself.

"One nation, one Amul, one milk and one Gujarat’ has become the official policy of the Central government. Hence, Amul is strangulating KMF by standing in its support," Kumaraswamy charged.

During Union Home Minister Amit Shah's visit to Mandya in December 2022 where he inaugurated a mega-dairy of KMF with a capacity to process 10 lakh litres a day at a cost of Rs 260 crore, the opposition had targeted him for his purported remark that Nandini and Amul should come together.

The opposition alleged that the statement meant that the two cooperative brands should be merged together, which Chief Minister Bommai and state Cooperative Minister S T Somashekar rubbished.

Around 10 days ago, another controversy broke out when the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had directed the KMF to print 'Dahi' on curd packets along with the local nomenclature. The opposition, especially the JD(S), termed it an attempt to 'impose' Hindi on the people of the state.

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