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UP CM hits out at governor again

Rajeshwar sent a letter to Mayawati asking her to review the abrupt suspension of two IAS and two state service officials.

lucknow Updated: Feb 02, 2008 17:57 IST

Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeshwar and Chief Minister Mayawati are again training their guns at each other. Hours after the governor shot off a letter to Mayawati asking her to review the suspension of four officials, the chief minister on Saturday defended her action and said he should have spoken to her instead.

Rajeshwar sent a two-page letter to Mayawati on Friday evening asking her review the abrupt suspension on Thursday of two Indian Administrative Service and two state service officials. In reply, the chief minister sent a three-page reply and also read it out at a specially convened press conference on Saturday morning.

Faizabad divisional commissioner Venkateshwarlu and Sultanpur district magistrate Sanjay Kumar, both IAS officers, were suspended along with the local chief development officer and an information officer for allegedly glorifying certain members of the Nehru-Gandhi family in a book on the history of Sultanpur district.

In the foreword to the book, Venkateshwarlu and Kumar had praised the contribution of both Rahul Gandhi and his father, the late Rajiv Gandhi, towards the development of the district of which their Amethi parliamentary constituency is a part.

Mayawati also circulated a copy of the correspondence between her and the governor together with "objectionable" excerpts from the book to the media.

Claiming that the action against the officials was warranted because they had violated service conduct rules, the chief minister said that they had no business to even write a message in a book which has political overtones.

In a strongly worded letter, Mayawati refuted the charge that her action against the officials was because they had endorsed a book showering praises on Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for all that they have done for the development of Sultanpur district.

"Instead of getting guided by newspaper reports and shooting off a letter to me, I wish you had spoken to me about the issue; the entire picture would have been clear to you," she said in the letter.

"My government and I have all the respect for both late Rajiv Gandhi and Mrs Sonia Gandhi and we give them every due honour. The action against the concerned officials was initiated simply because they violated the provisions of their service conduct rules," she asserted.

"Apparently media reports in this regard have ignored the fact that the amended edition of the publication - Sultanpur - kal aur aaj - has also showered praises on me and my government. But even that is not done and government officials must shun such practice."

The chief minister said: "This should suffice to prove that the action against the officials was not prompted by any political motivations."

"These officials had not just issued messages for the book authored by a central government official, but also pushed the publication of the book."

In January, Rajeshwar's visit to the poverty-ridden Bundelkhand had provoked her ire.