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Uttar Pradesh Raj Bhavan was witness to one of the most happening 30 days in the past few years during 74-year-old Aziz Qureshi’s tenure as caretaker Governor.
Even as he left for Uttarakhand Tuesday morning, Qureshi claimed a “planned conspiracy” against him to malign his image by those “who could not tolerate his popularity”. A section of media, he alleged, was out to malign his image.
Three days into office, on July 25, Qureshi had held a “Janata Darbar” despite an elected government in the state, even giving out his mobile number to public. On June 30, he paid a visit to SP chief Mulayam Singh at his residence. He set tongues wagging when he declared that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photographs should be displayed in government offices.
The Jauhar University amendment bill, stalled by two previous Governors, was cleared by him.
And two days before his tenure was to end, he stirred a controversy with a statement on rape incidents in UP. He said rapes cannot be stopped even by police force or the Army, trigerring widespread criticism.
Even the Congress, with which Qureshi was associated for five decades in Madhya Pradesh, was surprised by his actions.
Sources said Qureshi was considered close to veteran Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Arjun Singh.
In the early 70s, he was elected as an MLA and served as Minister of Irrigation, Power and Education in Madhya Pradesh; in the early 80s he was elected as MP from Satna Lok Sabha constituency. A lawyer by profession, he served as general secretary of Madhya Pradesh Congress and also in-charge of media department of MPCC.
He is also regarded close to Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh. Before becoming Governor of Uttrakhand, Qureshi had also campaigned for Congress in Uttar Pradesh during 2012 assembly election. Digvijaya Singh was then General Secretary in-charge of UP.
Though “outspoken”, Qureshi is is not known to have courted controversies in his long political career.
When he was made Uttrakhand Governor in April 2012, he did not hesitate to admit he was rewarded for his loyalty to Gandhi-Nehru family.
He was given additional charge of Uttar Pradesh Governor on June 23 when Governor B L Joshi resigned. He has been in the news since for his actions and statements.
Qureshi has three years of his tenure left.