Congress veteran ND Tiwari dies on his 93rd birthday

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister N D Tiwari passed away at Saket’s Max Hospital in New Delhi, today. The 92-year-old politician was admitted to the hospital on September 20 after suffering a brain stroke and died on this 93rd birthday.

Tiwari, who joined the Congress in 1963, is the only Indian politician to have served as chief minister of two states, Uttar Pradesh and later Uttarakhand. A Kumauni Brahmin, Tiwari first became chief minister of UP in 1976. His close ties to the Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi, helped him take over the post from Veer Bahadur Singh. In 1984, Tiwari got his second chance at chief ministership in UP. However, Rajiv Gandhi replaed him within months of party’s victory in state assembly elections.

Tiwari came back to power in UP for the third time in 1988. However, the Congress suffered a historic defeat in 1989 and has struggled to regain hold of the state since — it has been 28 years. All three of Tiwari’s terms as CM were very brief, not lasting more than a year each.

Tiwari was elected to both Houses of Parliament during his days in the Congress. In 1980, he was elected to the 7th Lok Sabha. He held several portfolios during his tenure. In 1985, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha. He also served as Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s cabinet, from 1986-87.

In 1991, after Rajiv Gandhi’s death, he may be natural choice for Congerss to be Prime Minister. But due to his defaet in Lok Sabha polls he had lost the opportunity and the destiny favoured P V Narasimha Rao. Closely associating with Sonia Gandhi, he revoled against PV Narasimhara and left Congress along with Arjun Singh, forming a new party Congress (Tiwari). The party was later merged with Congress, after Sonia Gandhi took its leaderhsip.

In 2002, the Congress stalwart became chief minister of Uttarakhand. He is the only chief minister in the state to complete a five-year term. Tiwari also served as Governor of Andhra Pradesh between 2007 and 2009. He resigned after a sting operation allegedly showing him in a compromising position at  Raj Bhavan with three women was released.

Tiwari was also embroiled in a controversy after lawyer Rohit Shekhar filed a paternity suit claiming Tiwari was his biological father. In his petition to the Delhi High Court, Shekhar claimed he was born out of an illegitimate relationship between the Congress veteran and his mother Ujjwala.

Denying the charge, Tiwari initially refused to undergo DNA tests, but was later ordered to by the HC. The tests confirmed Rohit was his biological son. The Delhi HC passed an order on the same in 2014. In January this year, ahead of the Uttarakhand Assembly elections, Tiwari and Rohit joined the BJP in the presence of party president Amit Shah.

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