A seriously ill Ram Naresh Yadav left Raj Bhavan stretchered in an ambulance on September 7 after completing his five-year tenure, which was marred by the infamous Vyapam scam that dogged him till he breathed his last in Lucknow on Tuesday.
The 88-year-old veteran was hospitalised in Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute due to his fragile health.
His last day at Raj Bhavan was eventful itself as a man set himself afire demanding the arrest of Yadav for the latter’s alleged involvement in Vyapam scam.
A UPA appointee ahead of the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections, Yadav faced several challenges during his tenure, the worst being the first information report (FIR) against him in Vyapam scam.
The charges against him and his son Shailesh concerned their alleged role in the scam related to the 2013 forest guard recruitment test, a part of multi-layered Vyapam scam which brought a bad name to Madhya Pradesh.
In March last year, he suffered a personal loss when Shailesh was found dead at their Lucknow residence under mysterious circumstances. Prior to this, Yadav lost his wife Shanti Devi in 2013.
It appears nothing but an irony of sorts that Yadav, who enjoyed a spotless image till the age of 86, found himself caught in a quagmire at the end of his political career.
After his exit from Raj Bhavan, Yadav didn’t enjoy the constitutional immunity, thereby not enjoying peace of mind due to the Vyapam taint.
There was always the apprehension of Central Bureau of Investigation finding his alleged role in the scam and questioning him, if not arresting him immediately.
Earlier, a special task force had found his involvement in the scam. But Yadav moved the high court which quashed an FIR on the ground that he as a governor enjoyed immunity against criminal proceedings. Yadav’s memoir ‘Meri Kahani’ doesn’t have any mention of Vyapam.
The NDA government’s soft corner towards Yadav also helped him stay put in Raj Bhavan. Ideologically, Yadav was once a part of anti-Congress movement as a socialist leader and went to jail under the controversial Maintenance of Internal Security Act from June 1975 to February 1977.
He became the Uttar Pradesh chief minister due to his standing as one of the tallest leaders from the anti-Congress camp. Yadav switched over to Congress in 1989 under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi and went on to become MLA and MP.
Yadav’s soft corner towards the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government caused much dismay in the opposition Congress. It came as no surprise that his ouster from Raj Bhavan was demanded by the Congressmen who had appointed him.
In his last days, Yadav suffered another blow when the apex court ordered him and other former chief ministers to vacate bungalows occupied in Lucknow.
Both BJP and Congress condoled the death of Yadav.
“Deeply saddened by the demise of Madhya Pradesh’s ex-governor Shri Ram Naresh Yadav. My heartfelt condolences to the family and his supporters,” tweeted chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Congress state president Arun Yadav paid tribute saying Yadav was a humble and honest person. “He always worked for the farmers and the poor,” Yadav added.