LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik completes three years of his tenure on July 22, and has resolved to release the third annual report of his functioning. In an interview with New Indian Express, Ram Naik shared his experiences as governor of India’s most populous state. Excerpts:
Which have been the challenging moments of your three years here?
When I was appointed as governor of UP, I was seen as an BJP or RSS man. But my working style has always been issue-oriented. I prevailed upon the previous Samajwadi Party government to drop tainted names from the list of MLCs. Another issue that created a flutter but was finally settled by the intervention of the Supreme Court was the appointment of a Lokayukta with an apolitical image. At the end of the day, I feel vindicated.
You came under fire from several quarters during the previous government. For example the tirade against you by Azam Khan.
I never found it imperative to respond to the likes of Azam Khan. If a leader like him condemns someone, that person’s credibility is automatically established. But some statements given by Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav caught my attention and I wrote to him about it. He responded to me by expressing his regret for giving such baseless statements in public.
How do you evaluate the performance of the new government led by Yogi Adityanath?
Four months in office is too short a time to evaluate a dispensation governing as huge a state as UP. At least give the new government six months. Having said that, I see a conviction in the new CM. He started off well. It is righty said well begun is half done.
You were tough with the previous regime. Why are you soft on Yogi Adityanath?
It is not so. Both were my government. I still enjoy very cordial relations with Akhilesh Yadav. But while Akhilesh ignored my suggestions on certain issues, the new CM has paid heed to them and took decisions like the announcement to celebrate UP Diwas on January 24 every year. Likewise, the decision on a CAG audit on the development authorities of Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Yamuna Expressway are some decisions taken on my suggestions.
What suggestions given by you were ignored by the previous government?
I had advised Akhilesh to bring out a white paper on Mathura’s Jawaharbagh episode which snowballed in to a big controversy. He ignored it. I think my BJP background was a hurdle for him. The government ignored the suggestion and later paid for it.
Law and order was an issue under SP rule. But crime is still growing?
I would advise you to wait for six months and then judge.
You were one of the front runners for the post of president. Was it a setback to you that the ruling party picked Ram Nath Kovind, much junior to you?
I am extremely happy both for Kovind and Venkaiah Naidu. It is a matter of pride for me that two of my junior colleagues have made it to the highest offices of the country. It would have been a setback only if I had expected the nomination.