Governor Ram Naik, who assumed office last month, has completed 15 days at the Raj Bhawan of Uttar Pradesh. The state's law and order situation has been an issue of concern for his predecessors and Naik too calls it alarming. He is, however, all praise for chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for his efforts to bring about an improvement in the situation.
Excerpts from an interview.
How about your 15 days in Raj Bhawan?
A new life for me. I have been in active politics from 1958 to 2014. My role in active politics has come to an end now.
Did you ever think about this role?
I come from a middle class family. My father was a high school headmaster. After completing my law studies, I came to Mumbai in search of a job in 1956. I worked in the advocate general's office. I have been an MLA for three terms and an MP for five terms till 2004. I held various organisational posts and volunteered not to contest an election.
What have you been doing (ever since coming to Lucknow)?
I am the chancellor of 24 universities. I called the vice-chancellors of all the universities one by one. This exercise has been completed now. I asked the V-Cs about the issues pending with the state government or the Raj Bhawan. I have asked them to give me everything in writing and I will discuss the issues with the chief minister.
Any definite action?
Some universities (four to five) have not held their convocations for the past two years. I have given the universities a programme to hold the convocations in October, November or December 2014. As three universities are new, the convocation ceremony will be held in 21 universities.
What about law and order issues?
The family members of the Mohanlalganj rape victim met me with some demands. I wrote to the chief minister. He has taken some action. The state government has recommended a CBI probe too into the incident. There have been Sikh-Muslim riots in Saharanpur. I have held discussions on these issues with the chief minister.
Are you satisfied with the law and order situation?
The law and order situation in the state is alarming. It's not only me, the chief minister may also be feeling the same. In the morning, when one goes through the newspapers, most of the space is occupied by the issues concerning the law and order situation. This needs to be improved.
Do you see any role for the Centre?
Although law and order is a state subject, the Centre can help the state government in dealing with the issues like the Naxal problem. Uttar Pradesh needs special attention of the Centre in maintaining the law and order situation.
Has the chief minister aptly handled the situation?
I am not interested in any blame game. I would like the peace to be maintained. The chief minister is doing his best in bringing about an improvement in the law and order situation.
What about holding the janta darbar at Raj Bhawan?
Holding a janta darbar is not the governor's job. The people's representative or the representatives of the government should hold the janta darbar. The governor's job is to correlate with the state government and the Centre.
Will you meet people?
I will be open to meeting the people. I meet people every day. Doors of Raj Bhawan are open. My endeavour will be to solve their problems.
Your take on scrapping the governor's post?
The governor's is a constitutional office. This has to be used for coordination between the Centre and the state government.
What about the governor's relations with the state government?
I will like to develop smooth and friendly relations with the state government. I will not give any opportunity to anybody to level any allegations against me.