GOVERNOR RAM Naik on Monday turned down five names put forward by the state government for nomination as members of Legislative Council as they did not qualify in that category and some had criminal cases against them. Naik has now asked the government to send it fresh names.
Nine MLC seats had fallen vacant last year. While the Governor had cleared four names recommended by the state government — after returning the file twice — his nod to the remaining five names was still pending.
“I have rejected these names as I do not find them worthy of nomination,” Naik told The Indian Express. Citing the reason for rejection, Naik clarified that under Article 171(5) of the Constitution, MLCs are to be nominated from five fields — literature, art, science, cooperative movement and social service. However, the five names recommended by the government did not have any special knowledge or even personal experience in any of these fields. Also, many had criminal cases registered against them, said the Governor.
Sources in the government said this is for the fourth time that the Governor has returned file to the government. “In several meetings with the chief minister in the past, I had been assured that fresh names would be sent to Raj Bhavan… but this is yet to happen…,” said Naik.
The five names include Lucknow builder Sanjay Seth, who was in news last year for income tax department raids at his offices. The others — Kamlesh Kumar Pathak, Ranvijay Singh, Abdul Sarfaraz Khan and Rajpal Kashyap — are reportedly close to the ruling Samajwadi Party. The four whose names were approved were S R S Yadav, Lilawati Kushwaha, Ram Vriksh Singh Yadav and Jitendra Yadav.
Naik’s rejection came days after he wrote to state Assembly speaker Mata Prasad Pandey, questioning the ‘capability’ of senior SP minister Azam Khan to work as the parliamentary affairs minister.
In May 2015, nine MLC seats, which were to be filled through nomination, had fallen vacant. The Akhilesh government recommended names for these seats, which were scrutinised by Raj Bhavan. The Governor, however, returned the file on May 22, asking the government to send “exhaustive details” of each of the nine candidates.
On June 2, last year, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met the Governor and handed over the same list. Instead of sending the details that Naik had asked for, the government sent Raj Bhavan affidavits on the background of the candidates. On July 2, Naik cleared only four out of nine names recommended by the government. He sent the complaints he had received against the rest to the chief minister.
On July 31, the government again nominated the same five names. Following this, when Akhilesh — during his several meetings with the Governor — raised the matter, each time, Naik raised his reservations, said sources.
“The government had asked for the concerned file from the Governor, as it has to file an affidavit in the court that is hearing a petition related to pending nomination of five MLCs. The Governor, however, rejected the names and asked the government to send fresh names soon,” said a source in the government.