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Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik Upset Over Minister Azam Khan’s Comments

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik today asked for the unedited CD and transcript of senior minister Azam Khan’s speech in the state Legislature in which the latter allegedly accused Mr Naik of working under the “influence of a party”.

“Taking cognizance of newspaper reports about remarks on him by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan and others, including Speaker yesterday in the House, the Governor has written to Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey asking him to provide its unedited printed copies and audio and video CD at the earliest,” a Raj Bhawan release said in Lucknow.

The Governor in his letter said Mr Khan and other members have referred to UP Nagar Nigam Amendment Bill 2015 in the House, which he wanted to “read and see”.

Mr Khan has been engaged in a war of words with Mr Naik for some time, with the Samajwadi Party leader accusing him of being a “kar sevak” and “communally vitiating” the atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh at the behest of the Modi government at the Centre.

While sticking to his earlier statement that he is an RSS volunteer, Mr Naik maintained that there was mutual cooperation between him and the Uttar Pradesh government and that his focus was on the development of the most populous state in the country.

In a scathing four-page letter to the Governor last month, Mr Khan had accused him of adopting a negative approach to him and claimed that he was receiving threats because of Mr Naik’s statements. Mr Khan even said he would raise the issue with President Pranab Mukherjee.

Mr Khan had yesterday accused the Governor of stalling several bills by not giving his assent and alleged it was giving an impression that he was working under the “influence of a party”.

“A Bill (UP Nagar Nigam Amendment Bill 2015) is pending with the Governor for over one year through which Mayors could be removed for financial irregularities. The Governor has stalled the Bill giving an impression that he is working under influence of a party,” Mr Khan yesterday said in the state legislature.

Assent was not given to the Bill so that mayors could not be punished for their “dishonesty”, Mr Khan had alleged.

The parliamentary affairs minister said if there was any problem with the Bill, it could be returned or if there was any suggestion, a clarification could be sought from him.

Objecting to Mr Khan’s remarks, BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Kumar Khanna requested the Speaker to expunge them as there was a “direct allegation against the Governor”.

The speaker said as per the Constitution, the Governor has the right not to give assent to any bill but still he would apprise Mr Naik of the minister’s feelings.

On the demand for removal of Mr Khan’s comments from the proceedings, the speaker said he would look into it.

The controversial UP Nagar Nigam (Amendment) Bill 2015, which vests the state government with power to remove mayors besides curtailing the power of local bodies, was passed in the House last year.

The Bill provides for enhancing the financial powers of chairman of Nagarpalika and Nagar Panchayat to Rs. five lakh and Rs. one lakh respectively, while pegging that of the mayor at Rs. 15 lakh.

It also provides for merger of UP Nagar Nigam Act, 1959 and UP Nagar Palika Act, 1916. It has provisions for removal of mayor of municipal corporations, and Nagarpalika and Nagar Panchayat chairpersons by the government.

The Uttar Pradesh Mayor Council had urged the Governor not to approve the Bill.

Certain other bills pending with the Raj Bhawan include Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University (Amendment) Bill 2015 and UP Medical Science University, Saifai, Bill 2015.

According to sources, the Governor had expressed reservation over appointment of chief secretary as the president of Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University and CM as the chancellor of Saifai Medical University.