Ageing Narayan Dutt Tiwari drops bombshell at Congress high command

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Dehradun : Former Uttarakhand chief minister, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, now perhaps better known for the paternity suit against him in the courts and his alleged sexploits in the Andhra Pradesh Raj Bhawan following which he had to resign from the gubernatorial assignment, has thrown a bomb shell with reports that the Nirantar Vikas Samiti, of which he is the patron, is likely to field candidates in all the 70 assembly segments in the vidhan sabha elections scheduled for Jan 30.

Though political pundits here claim that it is merely a ploy by the 87-year-old veteran Congress leader, who has been sidelined by the party high command in state and national politics, to get back into the mainstream of Uttarakhand politics, but the report has literally worked as a leaving a cat amongst pigeons, with the AICC leaders working overtime to pacify the ageing politician.

Congress incharge for Uttarakhand, Virender Chowdhary after reading reports is said to have gone to the Congress leader, who now stays in a house in the Forest Research Institute campus, in a bid to pacify him.

As per the Nirantar Vikas Samiti spokesperson, Bharat Sharma the organization was to field candidates in selected assembly segments, if not all 70, as independents.

Though Congress observers here confided, albeit on conditions of anonymity, that the ageing leader could dent the Congress party at the hustings, they felt that given the rough topography of the state, he would not be able to move about much in the chilly weather conditions and little time left.

They were also of the view that Tiwari’s message to vote for the Vikas samiti candidates would not cut much ice with the electorate in the Garhwal division of Uttarakhand, as even as chief minister of the state he worked more for development of the Kumaon division to which he hails.

However, the impact in Kumaon could hurt the Congress party, they observed.

But political pundits felt that veteran Congressman, who has not been taken into confidence by the central party leaders ever since his fall from grace following the Andhra Raj Bhawan incident, may have actually shot an arrow in the dark to bargain for allocation of some seats to his well-wishers and confidantes.

There are reports that some of his close associates and relatives are in the fray for getting the Congress ticket and have been camping at Tiwari’s place in the hope that he would manage the same.

But the announcement has definitely got the Congress high command thinking and it is to be seen how it reacts in the next couple of days.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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