Mayawati justifies her action over officials suspension

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Lucknow, Feb 2: Hitting back hard at the letter of Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar with regard to suspension of four senior officers in connection with a book release in Sultanpur, Chief Minister Mayawati today justified her action saying it was done to force the officials to work honestly and without any political vendetta.

Joining the issue with the Governor, Ms Mayawati in her strongly-worded letter to him said ''it would have been better if the Governor had talked to me prior to sending me the letter in connection with the issue''. The book authored by Dr Srikant Srivastava with forward messages of the Faizabad Commissioneer Venkateshwar Loo and District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar, who subsequently were suspended, has mention of Gandhi clan in development of Sultanpur.

''I respect both late Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi but the action was taken to mend the ways of the officials,'' she claimed, adding ''Even the book had eulogised me and my government but the tone should not be political.'' Addressing a press conference here, Ms Mayawti said her government would not allow the officials to indugle in political affairs.'' Such action was needed to prevent politicalisation of bureaucracy so that the officials work honestly and without any biased attitude,'' she said.

''There is no question of any political vendetta for taking action against these officials'', she asserted adding that her government would not succumb to any presssure and would take similar action even against the IAS or IPS officials if they violate Service rule or involve in politics.

She said that the two IAS officers (Commissioner and DM) had violated the All India Civil Service (Conduct) Rule 1968 while the two state officials had worked against the provisions of UP government Employees Rules 1999.

Reacting on the Governor's advice that if required the writer of the book should be punished by the state government, the UP CM said that as writer Srikant Srivastava was a Central Government employee the state government could not take any action. She said the book was illegal as it did not have the name of the publisher and its cost.

Governor T V Rajeswar had come to the rescue of four officials, including two senior IAS, suspended on Thursday for their role in the publication of a book which allegedly projected the Gandhi clan and Congress for its work done in the Sultanpur district, terming the move ''unjustified''.

The Governor's letter had taken the issue of the suspensions seriously by calling the CM's move as ''unjustified.'' He had also asked the CM to revert back her decision as there was no mention of any particular family in the book.

With the letter-war starting bewteen the Governor and the CM, the political battle between the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress is set to intensify.

The UP government on Thursday had suspended four officials, including two senior bureaucrats, for their role in publishing a souvenir which projected the role of Congress and the Gandhi clan in the development of Sultanpur district.

Besides Faizabad Divisional Commissioner Venkeshwara Loo and Sultanpur District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar,the state government had also suspended Assistant Director of Information Pramod Kumar Singh and then Chief Development Officer (currently posted as Special Secretary, Social Welfare) Ishtdev Prasad Rai.

The government release had said the book, authored by regional publicity officer Dr Srikant Srivastava, highlighted the role of a particular political party and the family leading the party.

Sultanpur had been the political 'karma bhoomi' of the Gandhi family with Rahul representing Amethi (a part of the district) in Lok Sabha. The official release maintained that the book, while projecting a particular party, ignored the efforts of the BSP government in the development work of the district.

The Divisional Commissioner was quoted as writing in his message that the book was ''an important piece of work and the people will get to know the history and culture of the district.'' The DM, Sultanpur, on the other hand, had claimed that the book was being published by collecting information through various means, it added.

The government also claimed that the book was published and distributed in the district by the particular political party.

''By helping in publication of the book, the officials have been, prima facie, found guilty of violating the service rules,'' the release added.

The action against the four officials came after senior government officials informed Chief Minister Mayawati about the contents of the book.


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