Vasindra: There've been reports of forced religious conversion in Uttar Pradesh in the last few days. What action have you taken as a governor?
Ram Naik: I came here on July 22, and am in touch with the chief minister since then. I have conversations with him on almost every big issue. For example, after I met the relatives of the Mohanlalganj rape and murder girls, and requested the CM to assist the family, he has now announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and recommended a CBI probe. I also discussed the Saharanpur riots issue with him. I feel that the role of a Governor is to show the right way to the government in such provocative incidents.
Vasindra: The Centre has recruited a few political faces to be Governors. Do you think the other appointees will resign from party politics just like you did when you were appointed as UP Governor?
Ram Naik: Whatever is written in the Constitution for the role of Governor, should be followed. There is anything wrong in appointing a politician as a Governor. But the politician must rise above his political affiliation after becoming Governor.
Vasindra: It is often said that the petroleum lobby influences the petroleum ministry and the selection of its minister. How did you manage to complete your tenure as petroleum minister?
Ram Naik: I was able to complete the tenure as a petroleum minister also because we had Vajpayee jee as prime minister. We used to fix the ministry's agenda and then work religiously to achieve it. Conditions have changed now. We need to formulate a strong policy for petroleum products and execute it. The last 20 years witnessed a lack in planning and implementation. We saw four different petroleum ministers in this period — Mani Shankar Aiyar, Murli Deora, Jaipal Reddy and Verappa Moilly. If we work honestly, nobody can force us to do wrong.