Congress leader Yashpal Arya, who on Monday joined the BJP, had a dramatic rise in politics from a gram pradhan in 1984 to a chief ministerial prospect in 2012.
Arya, a 5-time MLA from Mukteshwear, Khatima and Bajpur constituencies, was the Congress’ Dalit face in Uttarakhand. He joined the BJP along with his son Sanjeev in Delhi.
He displayed his anger on December 8 when his name was not put on flex at a Congress rally in Kashipur and it took chief minister Harish Rawat 30 minutes to coax him to attend the rally.
Arya was a local leader in Haldwani until “pandiji” (Arya prefers to address former Uttar Pradesh chief minister ND Tiwari) promoted him in 1980s. Arya’s critics refer him as a “dull” leader who took advantage of his proximity with Tewari.
In an interview to HT earlier, Arya said he owes his career to Tiwari. During 1977 general election, Arya (25) was appointed as Congress polling agent at Develchaur centre in Nainital district - the home turf of Tiwari.
Despite strong anti-Congress wave, Tiwari received maximum number of votes from Develchaur polling booth. “This was the first time I met pandiji” he had said.
In 1984, his career took a U-turn after he was elected as gram pradhan (village head) and was subsequently appointed district youth president for Nainital.
In 1989, Arya became an MLA from Khatima constituency and this was the year when Congress prospects started dwindling in Uttar Pradesh. He was reelected in 1993 when the Congress had only 28 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh assembly. He, however, lost next assembly election.
In the first assembly election of Uttarakhand in 2002, he won from Mukteshwar assembly segment reserved for SC. In 2007, he became chief of the Congress state unit and continued in the post till 2014.