A day after a non-bailable warrant was issued against UP Transport Minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati in a rape case and his passport impounded, Governor Ram Naik wrote to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, asking him on what basis was Prajapati continuing as a minister in his cabinet.
Seeking an early response from the Chief Minister, Naik wrote that the continuation of Prajapati as cabinet minister and lack of action against him even after the Supreme Court took cognizance of the rape allegation against him raised “serious questions” on the “loktantrik shuchita” (democratic sacredness), “samvaidhanik maryada” (constitutional decorum) and “samvaidhanik naitikta” (constitutional conduct).
The MLA from Amethi, Prajapati, who is said to have the backing of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, continues to remain missing. He was sacked by Akhilesh on September 12 after the High Court ordered a CBI probe into illegal mining in the state. Around that time, the party was also witnessing a bitter family feud for control of the party. But Akhilesh had to reinstate Prajapati days later after Mulayam defended him. On October 2, Prajapati was allotted charge of the transport department and the mining portfolio he held earlier was taken away from him.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Governor Naik said, “Somebody can say that I am interfering in government but I am not. I am just seeking information under my right as listed in Article 167 (b) of the Constitution. Moreover, I even read in some newspapers that Chief Minister himself expressed publicly that Gayatri should have surrendered, which means that he also feels that it is not proper that Gayatri has not surrendered.”
“According to the Constitution, I cannot sack a minister. It is done by the Chief Minister and I approve it. But there is a provision in the Constitution where I can seek information. Thus, I sought opinion of the Chief Minister from the constitutional and morality point of view for letting Gayatri continue in his cabinet.”
“I cannot remove the minister without the advice of the Chief Minister. It is up to him to decide whether he wants to continue (with) a person in his government on whose character there is a blot. I can only seek information, which I did,” Naik said.