What's next for BJP veteran Ram Naik

Ahead of the Maharashtra assembly elections, former Uttar Pradesh (UP) Governor Ram Naik decided to participate in political activities as "common party worker" after registering as a BJP member again

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Former Uttar Pradesh (UP) Governor and veteran leader, Ram Naik on July 31 stepped into active politics by enrolling himself again as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In an era where Prime Minister Narendra Modi encourages young leaders to step up, Naik is set to work as a "common party worker".

The 85-year-old whose term as UP Governor ended on July 29 had said that he will not sit carefree at home after his retirement. Naik's enrollment in the BJP comes ahead of the upcoming assembly election in Maharashtra. 

While taking party membership again, the senior leader also flagged off the 'rath' (chariot) for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' 'Mahajanadesh Yatra' which was initiated on August 1 in Amravati, Maharashtra. Ahead of the state assembly polls, Naik said that he will work as for the party like any other party worker while focussing on the responsibilities given to him. 


Political Journey

Born on April 16, 1934, Ram Naik, since childhood, has been a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteer. Graduated in law, Naik was Union Minister of Oil and Natural Gas in Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet in the 13th Lok Sabha. 

Ram Naik started his political career with Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) in the year 1964. During the 1978 Maharashtra assembly elections, the senior leader represented Borivali assembly constituency and was elected twice. After that, Naik became Minister of State (MoS) for Railways in the year 1998. 

The BJP veteran has represented Mumbai North parliamentary constituency thrice in the Lok Sabha elections until he was defeated in 2004 by Bollywood Actor Govinda who contested LS polls on Congress ticket. Moreover, Ram Naik was also defeated in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections by Congress' Sanjay Nirupam. 

Earlier in 2013, the senior leader had announced that he won't be contesting in the Lok Sabha polls and later in 2014, was appointed as UP Governor. 


Controversy

After Naik was appointed at the constitutional post, he made remarks in favour of building Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Several Hindutva outfits backed his remarks. 

Naik had said that Ram Mandir should be built at the earliest. The people of this country want the same and their wishes should be fulfilled. However, since then, Naik's Hindutva image and views have been under control under the Modi government.

Moreover, earlier in 2004, Naik made a public statement while demanding an apology from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for removing quotes from status provided to Indian revolutionaries. 


Positions Held - Timeline

Ram Naik has been associated with the BJP since Jan Sangh days and was the Organising Secretary of the party's Mumbai unit from 1969 to 1977. 

Following the same year, Naik was Janata Party General Secretary for party's Mumbai unit till 1978 and next year, became Mumbai Janata Party President and remained in the position till 1980. 

In 1980, Janata Party turned into Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Naik remained President for party's Mumbai unit till the year 1986. 

In the year 1978, Ram Naik was first elected as an MLA and remained in the same position till 1989 – for nearly three terms. 

Ram Naik was elected as an MP from Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency in the year 1989, 1991, 1999. Naik still holds the President post for All India Disciplinary Committee of the BJP. 



What next for the veteran leader?

While registering himself for the party membership in BJP, Naik maintained that he would not sit idle at home but will rather participate in the political activity of the party. Moreover, the veteran leader asserted that he will complete whatever assignment party gives him. 

Naik joined the party ahead of the Maharashtra assembly elections and will probably play his role as party's patriarch. State BJP President recently praised Ram Naik saying that he was a great source of inspiration for the younger generation. While naming Naik as a special member of BJP's state executive committee, Patil said that he has defeated all barrier of age. 

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