Congress veteran ND Tiwari’s son Rohit Shekhar could be the new face of Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttarakhand. The 90-year-old Congress leader’s proximity to SP in Uttar Pradesh gives support to this buzz.
Tiwari celebrated his 90th birthday in Haldwani (Nainital) on Sunday, which was attended by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and several Samajwadi Party leaders.
During his birthday bash, Tiwari announced Rohit as his political heir. Rohit already enjoys minister of state stature in Uttar Pradesh. It’s a two-way arrangement -- Samajwadi Party needs someone in the hill state who has acceptability and Rohit needs a political platform.
Samajwadi Party had plans to launch Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple in Uttarakhand, who hails from the hill state, but gave it up due to the risks involved. Sources said SP was taking Uttarakhand seriously as the cadres believe the hatred against its chief Mulayam Singh has somehow diminished in the state in the last 15 years. Now party sees right time to start afresh in Uttarakhand.
“The veteran leader (Tiwari) has broad base of followers cutting above party lines. Now Rohit being in active politics, he shall get the love and affection,” said Ganesh Upadhyay, Congress leader from Kumaon region.
The father-son duo travelled Nainital parliamentary constituency during the last Loksabha polls to introduce Rohit among Tiwari’s followers.
However, Rohit has neither joined the Congress nor the Samajwadi Party. His father too hasn’t switched loyalty to the Samajwadi Party as anticipated after Mulayam Singh Yadav invited Tiwari to settle in Uttar Pradesh in 2012. This was the year when Tiwari was sidelined by the Congress and he was also fighting a legal battle with his biological son.
“SP always welcomes young faces. Rohit’s political bonhomie depends on his stand. First he has to decide whether he wants to join the party and work for society,” SS Sachan, state Samajwadi Party president, told HT on Tuesday.
Samajwadi Party has recently made some changes in organisational setup with Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav taking reins as in-charge for the party affairs in Uttarakhand. Party had been focusing in the plain areas of the state, bordering UP. But if plan works, the party will scale hills as well, say sources.