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Politician who mastered constitution

india Updated: Aug 02, 2009 01:37 IST
HT Correspondent

Gujarat’s governor-designate Devendra Nath Dwivedi was known as much for his vast knowledge of constitutional provisions, niceties and nuances as he was for simplicity, warmth, amiability and patience.

For years, the former additional solicitor general of India had waited patiently for his political rehabilitation and when it happened with the UPA government handpicking him on July 18 as governor, fate intervened.

Instead of going to Ahmedabad to take charge from Nawal Kishore Sharma, who was to retire on July 24, the 74-year-old leader ended up in a hospital with a liver ailment from which he never recovered.

Dwivedi was cremated on Saturday in the presence of a large number of friends, colleagues and leaders — including Congress president’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, Minister of State Prithviraj Chavan and senior Congress leaders like Motilal Vora, RK Dhavan and Janardan Dwivedi.

While President Pratibha Patil sent her condolences, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi went to his house to place wreaths on his body.

It has been a long and eventful journey for the Congress leader who strove for probity in public life and is remembered for his incisive constitutional and political analyses.

A noted Supreme Court lawyer, Dwivedi served the Congress in various capacities, including party general secretary, for close to four decades. He began as a protégé of Congress stalwart Kamlapati Tripathi, but his brilliance caught the attention of Indira Gandhi who brought him to the Rajya Sabha in 1974.

He, however, came into prominence as a close confidant of PV Narasimha Rao. During Rao’s tenure as PM, he also came close to Manmohan Singh, who was then finance minister.

In 1999, Dwivedi quit the Congress and joined Sharad Pawar’s NCP, but within two years he was back in the parent party.

And when he was about to be rehabilitated finally, he ran out of time.