‘Won’t respond to Azam, but isn’t it odd his letter to me reached press first?’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/wont-respond-to-azam-but-isnt-it-odd-his-letter-to-me-reached-press-first/

‘Won’t respond to Azam, but isn’t it odd his letter to me reached press first?’

Governor Ram Naik, under attack from parties, defends his statements and dismisses criticism.

Ram-Naik
Ram Naik

Ram Naik, Governor of Uttar Pradesh, has been under attack from the ruling Samajwadi Party — minister Azam Khan has called him a “kar sevak” — as well as the opposition, with both the BSP’s Mayawati and the RLD’s Ajit Singh questioning why he holds frequent press conferences and makes “political statements”. In this interview, he defends his statements.

Mayawati has described your press conferences and statements as a new trend that indicates the Uttar Pradesh government is becoming weak and that the President should take cognisance.

Whatever I am doing, I am doing it in the open and within constitutional limits. I have read Mayawati’s statement in press reports, and I will say that the President of India is already aware of my speeches as well as about my reports and press conferences. I send regular reports to him. I also made reports on my work public to the press and even sent copies to all ministers of the UP government, MLAs and even to Mayawati. I don’t think there is anything unconstitutional about it and such a conclusion should not be drawn.
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RLD chief Ajit Singh has condemned a statement made by minister Azam Khan against you, but at the same time has said the governor should avoid making “political statements”. He was referring to your statement on Ram Mandir.

There is no point raising the same issue again and again. I stand by my statements, know about my constitutional limits, and remain within them. I have already said there was nothing unconstitutional about my statements, so what is the point of raising that issue again?

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Azam Khan has called you a “kar sewak” and said your statements are “scaring Muslims”. He has written to you about this. Will you take cognisance of his letter?

I do not respond to the comments of a minister and I have already spoken to the chief minister about the conduct of his minister. I don’t think I need to remind him again and again. However, it is a matter of concern that a letter that was addressed to me as a governor was first given to the press and reached me later. Is it not odd? It is up to the chief minister to take cognisance of this.

It was is not the first time that Azam Khan has made a statement against you. A few months back, too, you had spoken to the chief minister about the conduct of the minister and that no step had been taken so far?

I am no judge of anyone’s conduct. It is the people who will judge my conduct and the conduct of Mr Azam Khan and the chief minister.

Your first address to the Uttar Pradesh assembly is due on Wednesday. Will you recommend amendments to the speech the state government has sent you?

I have had a very busy schedule for the past few days and got the copy of the address only on Monday evening. I am yet to read it. But as far as proposing amendments to it are concerned, there is a set process for that. I have to suggest it to the chief minister first and then he gets the suggestions incorporated in my speech after taking the approval of his cabinet. There is very little time left for that, but let me read it first and then decide.