Dehra Dun : Veteran Congress leader Narain Dutt Tewari, may well end the debate on the retirement age for politicians, which many peg at 70. Tewari, who will be turning 90 next year, intends throwing his hat into the ring for the current Lok Sabha elections from the Nainital parliamentary constituency that he has represented earlier, in Uttarakhand.
Though the Congress has not obliged him by neither giving him, nor his biological son Rohti Shekhar, the ticket, despite efforts having been made by the veteran Congress leader, who also did a stint as the Andhra Pradesh governor from where he quit for alleged dubious reasons; Tewari is likely to contest as an independent, or on the SP ticket.
Reports are that a nomination form was procured last Saturday from Nainital returning officer’s office in the name of Narain Dutt Tewari, and though the aging Congressman made his intentions of contesting clear some time back, there are reports that he may contest on the Samajwadi Party ticket. He is scheduled to meet SP supremo in Lucknow today, after which he will be addressing the media.
It may be mentioned here that after settling the dust over the legal court case by his biological son, Rohti Shekhar, and publicly accepting him as his biological son, Tewari was keen to know how will the electorate react to his having a child not out of wedlock. For this he undertook a 10-day tour of the Lok Sabha segment, where he met various segments of the society.
The positive feedback that he got further intensified his intentions to contest the elections, and he even made efforts to meet the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in a bid to convince her for a party ticket from his home constituency. However, as Sonia refused to meet him and the ticket from Nainital was given to the sitting MP, K C Singh Babu, Tewari decided to look for fresh grounds.
His overtures with the Samajwadi Party were taken hook, line and sinker as Mulayam Singh himself wanted to make inroads into the Brahmin vote bank in Uttar Pradesh. As Tewari, a Brahmin, was earlier chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and has strong support from the Brahmin lobby in the state, which SP hopes to encash by giving Tewari the Samajwadi ticket from Nainital.
Sources close to Tewari said that the main reason for Tewari wanting to contest the Lok Sabha elections is to pass on his political legacy to his biological son, whom he has now publicly acknowledged. There have been a lot of differences between the two, as they were caught in a legal battle for quite a few years which went right till the apex court, and Rohit Shekhar after getting a positive verdict went on record to say “I am not a bastard son, he is a bastard father”.
The veteran Congressman feels that should he have a term as an MP, he can help Rohit, who also apparently has political ambitions to nurse the constituency and project him as his political successor. This is the least, the veteran Congressman feels he can do for his biological son, with whom he had been estranged till a couple of months back.
Meanwhile, the decision of Tewari to contest from Nainital has sent jitters in the Congress camp in this tiny hill state. Very few deny the fact that though the aging leader may not perhaps be able to win, but it could upset the Congress applecart, which is already riding rough shod. There are also dangers that his electing against his parent party, could send ripples in this small hill state which could have an adverse affect in the other four Lok Sabha seats.