Appointed five years ago by then UPA government as governor of Madhya Pradesh, Ram Naresh Yadav (88) will soon exit the Raj Bhavan following the Centre’s decision to give Gujarat governor OP Kohli the additional charge of MP governor office on Wednesday.
Yadav’s five-year term ends on September 7.
Yadav, who was given the post ahead of 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections, overcame several odds to remain in his chair and complete his tenure.
However, as he bows out of Raj Bhavan on September 7, the sword of Damocles will still hang over his head with an uncertain future — Yadav’s role has been under scanner in the infamous Vyapam scam and the CBI is still investigating the case.
The scam taint
The Vyapam scam is an admission & recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym ‘Vyapam’ (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal), is a self-financed and autonomous body incorporated by the state government responsible for conducting several entrance tests.
He faced serious charges for his involvement in the scam. Then UPA government, which had appointed Yadav, was dislodged by the NDA in May, 2014.
It was during this period when one of his sons, Shailesh Yadav, who was also an accused in the scam was found dead at their Lucknow residence in 2015 under mysterious circumstances. Words did the round that he committed suicide mortified over the charges.
It is an irony that Yadav — who enjoyed a spotless career till the age of 86 years despite being an active politician — should find himself caught in such a quagmire at the end of his political career.
According to political observers, Yadav, who is in a private hospital in Bhopal due to his asthmatic problem, will find his future uncertain with the CBI likely to question him as he will no longer enjoy the immunity as a governor.
The special task force (STF), investigating the scam prior to CBI, found him an accused in the scam. However, Yadav — who was once a practicing lawyer -- moved the high court which ordered quashing of the FIR on the grounds that as a governor, he enjoys immunity against criminal proceedings.
His arrest looked imminent if he was to be removed from his post by the NDA government after its takeover. However, the NDA government’s soft corner towards him helped him stay put in Raj Bhavan. Political circles were agog with rumours that his meeting with home minister Rajnath Singh earned him ‘an extension’.
However, ideologically, Yadav was once a part of the anti-Congress movement as a socialist leader and even went to jail under MISA from 1975 to 1977. He became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh as one of the tallest leaders of the anti-Congress camp.
Yadav switched over to the Congress in 1989.
Ironically, Yadav’s stay in Raj Bhavan in Madhya Pradesh caused consternation in the Opposition Congress itself. After the Vyapam scam, he was accused of hobnobbing with the BJP government and his ouster was demanded by Congressmen who had once considered him as their own man.
Recently, the Supreme Court gave him a blow as he, along with others, was ordered to vacate the bungalow he occupied in Lucknow as an ex-CM.
“Ram Naresh Yadav is an exception among governors appointed by then UPA government who was spared by the NDA government. Even most of BJP leaders don’t know why the NDA government showed mercy towards him. But he will be a commoner now after September 7 and may face CBI grilling anytime. Arrest is possible too. He will cease to be the governor and is unlikely to hold any constitutional post further,” said political analyst Girijashankar.
Senior journalist Dinesh Gupta says Raj Bhavan was considered as an annexe of Mantralaya during the tenure of Yadav. He played no role in the development of Madhya Pradesh and it appeared it was just a constitutional compulsion to have him on the coveted post. “Petitions filed by people to get their grievances redressed were lost somewhere in the power corridors.”
However, senior BJP leader Dr Hitesh Bajpai says the governor had worked all these years rising above party politics. “He extended his support to positive efforts made by the state government for the development of the state and his conduct has been graceful. He is an honest man and a politician and never got involved in petty politics,” Bajpai added.