M A I N   N E W S

The Last Word
ND Tiwari
‘Grand’ old man with a glad eye
Amar Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Back in Dehradun after a controversial stint as Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Narain Dutt Tiwari is doing what he does best — interacting with common people from the Kumaon region where he hails from, and inspecting the schemes that he had introduced as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

He denies he is trying to return to active politics, but the large number of visitors he attracts has regular politicians worried. There are very few Congressmen among them. Recently, he donated his pension to the Sunni Muslim Welfare Society for Mohsin-e-Insaaniyat Public School, which is being set up in Dehradun.

At the ripe old age of 84, Tiwari is quite a father figure all right, but not for 31-year-old Rohit Shekhar, who has been fighting a legal battle against him, claiming that he was born of a relationship between Tiwari and his mother Ujjwala Sharma, a charge denied by the veteran Congress leader.

The woman in question was once the General Secretary of the All-India Young Women Congress. Tiwari’s wife, Dr Sushila, died over 10 years ago and he has no children.

The paternity case filed in the Delhi High Court in September 2007 has come to haunt Tiwari yet again with a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court last week setting aside a Single Bench order which had in November last dismissed it, saying it was time-barred and not maintainable in absence of territorial jurisdiction.

The court has even hinted that Tiwari might have to undergo a DNA test to decide the issue. That is bad news for the seasoned politician who had to quit Raj Bhawan following the airing of video clips of an elderly man allegedly identified as Tiwari in bed with three women. Tiwari has vociferously denied the allegation, calling it a conspiracy by the Telangana lobby, but the mud has stuck.

Even the registration number of his car (1733) has given rise to many salacious jokes, with it being read in Hindi as “Ek Saath Teen Teen” (Three in one go).

There have been many similar tales of his “colourful” ways in the past. Old-timers recall with a chuckle his disappearing act in the late 1980s when he was later traced to a guest house in Gajraula, ostensibly in female company.

A journalist acquaintance of his recollects an incident when he visited a convalescing Tiwari in hospital. The ever-suave leader apologised profusely for not being able to get up and greet him properly.

In walked a beautiful lady and the “ailing” Tiwari was up and about in a second! Another friend of Tiwari’s in Dehradun recounts how when the three-in-one scandal broke out in distant Hyderabad, many people rang him up only to find out the secret of his friend’s eternal youth and vitality.

That is in a way good publicity for a man who was once greeted with sly slogans such as “Jo Nar Hai Na Nari Hai, Woh Narain Dutt Tiwari Hai”. The Hyderabad episode cost him the Raj Bhavan gaddi but has proved such detractors wrong.

Tiwari’s tragedy is that such scandals have taken away from him the credit for being a good administrator and development spearhead. His track record has been particularly good in his home state Uttarakhand, where he is known as “Vikas Purush”, after his stint as Chief Minister from 2002 to 2007.

He had earlier been the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh four times and there too had an above average run. Ironically, he was more successful as the Finance Minister of UP, having presented nine budgets under C B Gupta, Charan Singh, Kamlapati Tripathi and H N Bahuguna.

During the Emergency, Tiwari played his cards well to earn the confidence of Indira Gandhi by acting as the agent to Sanjay Gandhi and he was Cabinet Minister in the governments of Indira Gandhi as well as Rajiv Gandhi and headed the ministries of Planning, Labour, Industry, Steel and Mines, Petroleum, External Affairs, Commerce and Finance. He was also Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. Because of such vast experience, his name even figured for the Prime Minister’s office after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

In early 1995, Tiwari and Arjun Singh revolted against Narasimha Rao and floated a new party — Indira Congress. However, the two returned to the parent organisation after Sitaram Kesri ousted Rao as the Congress president.

While Tiwar’s supporters greeted him with slogans like “Vikas ki Chingari Hai, Narain Dutt Tiwari Hai”, his opponents called him “Nothing Doing Tiwari” or “New Delhi Tiwari”. 



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |