Nandini also sold its products in other states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, and its products are also available in Karnataka, according to Nirmala Sitharaman. To suddenly claim that Amul is being brought to Karnataka to murder Nandini is “brazen,” Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday, claiming that the Gujarat-based dairy cooperative entered the state while the Congress was in office. Under the brand name Nandini, the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) sells milk, curd, and other dairy products. She claimed that things had been modified, distorted, and turned into an emotional issue because it was election season in Karnataka, where Assembly elections will be held on May 10.
“In India’s scheme of things, every state has its own milk cooperative. Karnataka’s Nandini – whoever doesn’t recognise it? Even now that I’ve come, I had Nandini milk, curd, peda… Of course in Delhi I’ll buy Amul. I represent Karnataka (but) in Delhi, if Nandini isn’t available, I’m mentally not a sanyasi to say I won’t drink milk if Nandini isn’t available. I still buy Amul. That’s not being against Karnataka,” Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned.
She noted that supporting Nandini and dairy farmers in Karnataka had never been a question, and that it would continue to be so. Nandini also sold its products in other states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, as other state dairies do in Karnataka, she stated. “Good competition I would say… The idea is therefore to strengthen India in every aspect. That’s why India became the world’s largest milk producer,” she said. During a discussion with Thinkers Forum, Karnataka, the minister was responding to a question about the Amul-Nandini controversy.
She declared that it was “brazen” to claim untruthfully and abruptly that Amul was being brought in to kill Nandini. “Amul entered Karnataka when there was a Congress government here. I’m not sure I should name the Chief Minister at that time. The same respected former CM is now questioning Amul’s entry. It was in his time Amul entered North Karnataka for marketing in those areas.” “This, strictly speaking, is tweaked, twisted and made an emotional issue because it is election time,” she alleged, adding that “instead of building a healthy competition and a positive narrative” the issue was twisted, “and our farmers and women need not be brought into a political issue”.
Sitharaman said Karnataka’s milk producers need to be assisted, praising former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s government for raising the procurement price of milk for the first time. He increased the price per litre by Rs 2. Later governments have contributed in their own ways. “Again the current BJP government increased it to Rs 5. So, support to milk-giving farmers will continue,” she said. Farmers and those engaged in animal husbandry are also given many other facilities by the Centre, the Finance Minister added.