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Q&A

‘The home minister hid like a Rat’

By Ajmer Singh

PG GaVai
Former LG
Did you ask Rajiv Gandhi about the need to deploy the army?

Yes, I did. Why the hell did I go to him — to impress upon this only. After that the only thing we could do was to approach the home ministry under which the police really works.

What was Rajiv’s reaction when you asked him to deploy the army?

What do I tell you now about my meet with Rajiv? Jagdish Tytler and Dharam Dass Shastri were sitting there. He told me there was a delay in summoning the army. I told him I don’t want to argue with you, you are grieving. But I know what the outcome will be.

Does that mean some people ganged up against you?

All these people, Tytler, Shastri, ganged up against me. They had poisoned Rajiv’s ears about my handling of the situation. What force does a lieutenant governor have? Tytler couldn’t tolerate that a dalit had become a lieutenant governor. I was told ‘Gavai this man is working against you’.

Who do you think is responsible for this?

In a broad way I am trying to share my feelings with you. Home minister chuhe ki tarah chupey rahe. Mujhe hidayat di, log phans gayen hain aap zara madad kariye, mere dost hain. Par uske siwaye koi madad nahin. Yeh kya batana chahte hain? Yeh sab chor log, bole saale ko scapegoat banao na (The home secretary hid like a rat. No, no, the home minister hid like a rat. He asked me to help his friends. The others did not matter. These rogues have made me a scapegoat).

Was Narasimha Rao hiding like a rat?

Yes, out of sheer fear. He was hiding like a rat.

Who else was responsible?

Jamwal. Yes, he refused to meet the police commissioner. He wanted to meet me. But, I told him not to waste time and act immediately. These are the two people who should have met. I had asked Tandon about deploying the army. When I complained about the army to Gen Vaidya, he said casually that these things take time.

You had earlier talked about a meeting.

This meeting was convened by Dr PC Alexander. A lot of time was wasted. In the meeting also, I told them about deploying the army. Everyone agreed with me.

But Alexander has denied such a meeting.

Yes, I know. But he presided over the meeting. The home minister was also there. I was asked to go on leave. In exchange, I was offered the chairmanship of UPSC. I told him in such circumstances a lieutenant governor does not go on leave but resigns. It is a matter of shame. What was Alexander doing? Just writing letters. I was left all alone.

You have talked about Narasimha Rao’s role. What about Rajiv’s role?

They showed to the world that was everything under control. But, the lieutenant governor was asked to take care of everything.

Did Rajiv leave everything on you?

Rajiv’s advisors were party to this. A lot of time was wasted.

 

Aug 20 , 2005
 
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