Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s demand for abolition of governor’s post has triggered a debate on utility and role of governors. Umesh Raghuvanshi speaks to Ram Naik, who is completing two years in office on July 22, on his role, his relations with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and on variety of other issues. Excerpts:
Should governor’s post be abolished?
India has a federal Constitution. Governor’s post has been there for coordination and to work as a bridge between the state and the Centre. From 1950 to 2016, the post has proved its utility.
What about controversies?
This is such a political issue. Governor should not speak on the issue. There have been discussions and I have been enlightened by them. I do try that no such issue crops up during my tenure as governor. The President of India and the people of Uttar Pradesh will be better judge whether I am doing right or wrong as a governor.
Have you worked as a bridge between UP and the Centre?
Yes, I worked for a meeting between chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and union minister of state (independent charge) for energy Piyush Goel when the state faced problems on power supply front. I don’t want to take any credit for this. But the power supply situation has improved in the state in the past two years. I also urged the Centre to increase the number of Smart Cities to 14 in UP.
Your relations with chief minister? What about your statements on UP’s law and order etc?
The chief minister also knows that law and order is important. I had recently sent special reports on Mathura, Kairana and Dadri issues to the President and the Prime Minister. This was partly my effort to bring out facts. I based my reports on what the state government and other agencies reported to me on these issues.
What about controversies on Lokayukta appointment or nomination of MLCs?
I am bound by the oath of office. I tried to adhere to the constitutional provisions on the issue of nomination of MLCs. I was successful in the end.
Is the bureaucracy responsible for any communication gap?
No. Those occupying high positions have the answer for the controversies.
Is the bureaucracy politicised?
I feel the need of continuity on bureaucratic posts for good governance. Often officers are shifted after three or four months. Quality of officers is not bad in UP. There is a provision for two-year tenure on certain posts at the Centre. This is a good tradition.
Your experiences in UP?
UP is not new to me. I have remained closely associated with the people of the state. UP’s people have 25% population in North Mumbai, where I actively worked during my political life. I have known UP through Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he worked with the BJP or as Prime Minister.
Your experiences in Raj Bhawan?
I have had good time here. I get up at 5.30am and work till about 11pm. My wife often tells me that she felt like a bird in a golden cage here. I am told UP’s first governor Sarojini Naidu also felt so. But my wife has been a teacher and spends time reading books etc. UP has a good climate. In Mumbai, we lived in a small flat. Raj Bhawan is spacious and our friends who come from Mumbai like it.