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ND Tiwari turns 91, keeps supporters guessing about son’s political future

Many had thought Tiwari’s birthday bash would mark the political coronation of his son Rohit Shekhar, but neither the nonagenarian leader nor his son spelled out their plans

dehradun Updated: Oct 18, 2016 21:15 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times
ND Tiwari,Rohit Shekhar,Uttarakhand election
Former chief minister ND Tiwari, who turned 91 on Tuesday, with finance minister Indira Hridayesh during his birthday celebration in Haldwani.(HT photo)

Former Uttarakhand chief minister ND Tiwari’s 91st birthday celebration at the Ramlila ground in Haldwani on Tuesday turned into a show of his political strength even as the veteran Congress leader kept his supporters guessing about his family’s future political course.

Many thought the birthday bash would mark the political coronation of his son Rohit Shekhar, who is keen to contest the assembly election, due early next year, from a suitable seat in Kumaon region. But neither the nonagenarian leader, nor his son spelled out their plans.

Sources close to the Tiwari family, however, said they were in touch with both the ruling Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP).

Rohit is currently enjoying the status of a state minister in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh where the SP government appointed him as an adviser to the transport department last year apparently in recognition to Tiwari’s proximity with the ruling party’s patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Though the Tiwari family kept the option open for Rohit’s inclusion in the Congress, the party high command so far did not welcome him to its fold. Rohit told the HT that the Congress’ action did “hurt his family.”

But the presence of a large number of ministers, Congress and SP leaders at Tiwari’s birthday celebration manifested the clout the tallest Brahmin leader of the state, who is often referred as Parvatputra (son of the hills) by his followers, wields in the state.

Tiwari reached the venue, flanked by Rohit and his wife Ujjwala, at around noon amid heavy sloganeering by his supporters.

The celebration was organised by the Parvatshri ND Tiwari Janmadiwas Samaroh Samiti, whose members are mostly Congress members. But they termed the event as “apolitical.”

Speaker of the state assembly Govind Singh Kunjwal, finance minister Indira Hridayesh, revenue minister Yashpal Arya, former MP Mahendra Pal and senior SP leaders from Haldwani attended the function.

Chief minister Harish Rawat, PCC chief Kishore Upadhyay, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, BJP leader Vijay Bahuguna, who were also invited, did not turn up.

“I have not yet made up my mind on which party I will join and which seat I will contest,” Rohit told the gathering, while his father avoided saying anything as he was “not feeling well.”

State finance minister, however, said she would help Rohit contest elections from the Kumaon region.

First Published: Oct 18, 2016 21:15 IST