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‘Would’ve brought down Congress government if not for ND Tiwari’: Harak Singh Rawat

Paying tributes to former chief minister ND Tiwari during the first day of Uttarakhand assembly’s winter session, the former Congress heavyweight Harak Singh Rawat admitted that he was upset with him (Tiwari) because he didn’t induct him into his cabinet in 2005.

dehradun Updated: Dec 05, 2018 15:24 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
uttarakhand assembly,harak singh rawat,ND Tiwari
Uttarakhand assembly speaker Prem Chand Aggarwal (right) on his way to attend the first day of assembly’s winter session in Dehradun on Tuesday. (HT Photo )

BJP leader and cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat on Tuesday made a startling revelation in the Uttarakhand assembly, saying he would’ve brought down the Congress government in 2005 had then chief minister ND Tiwari not mollified him through his “natural patience and large heartedness”.

Paying tributes to Tiwari during the first day of the assembly’s winter session, the former Congress heavyweight admitted that he was upset with him (Tiwari) because he didn’t induct him into his cabinet.

The entire House paid rich tributes to the state’s first elected chief minister, who died in Delhi on October 18, on his 93rd birthday. As a mark of respect for the departed leader all proceedings including the question hour were cancelled till the recess.

All leaders cutting across party line paid homage to Tiwari but Singh stunned the House stating that he would’ve brought down the Congress government had he (Tiwari) not cared to mollify him.

The firebrand leader along with eight other former Congress heavyweights, including former CM Vijay Bahuguna, split that party and joined the BJP ahead of the 2017 assembly elections.

Incidentally, it was Bahuguna who played a key role in mormalising relations between veteran leader Tiwari and Singh, then a “political greenhorn”, who is known for his mercurial temper.

He said he had decided to topple the Tiwari government around the time when his name was being linked to a much hyped sex scandal.

It was around that time another Congress veteran and former chief minister Harish Rawat had revolted against his bete noir Tiwari as the Congress high command “picked” the latter for the chief minister’s post.

Party insiders say Singh initiated the tactical move for two reasons. First, the Congress had a wafer thin majority in the House. Secondly, he was also said to have a tacit support of Rawat who was eyeing the top post.

The former chief minister though has refuted all reports about his move to destabilise the then Tiwari government stating that he instead suggested corrective steps so, it delivered fast and more effectively.

Be that as it may, Singh suggested on the floor of the House that he would’ve brought down the Tiwari government had Bahuguna not acted as a go-between for the warring leaders.

In fact, the numbers too were absolutely in his (Singh) favour. “I had the support of 26 (of the total 36 Congress legislators in a house of 70)…I was about to bring down the government but in the meanwhile Bahugunaji visited my residence late one night,” Singh said.

He recalled that they sat together for the next several hours and all the while Bahuguna “kept persuading me against my decision to topple the Congress government”.

“We sat talking till 4am…Later, he drove me to the chief minister’s official residence,” Singh said.

“As soon as Tiwariji inquired from me about my move I told him on his face that I was forced to take such a step as he (Tiwari) chose not to give me a cabinet berth,” he recalled.

But as always Tiwariji spoke to him calmly confessing that he failed to accommodate him in his cabinet, Singh recalled.

“But he (Tiwari) told me that night that I was at liberty to announce as many as development projects as I wished for Lansdowne,” Singh said referring to the assembly constituency he then represented.

Tiwari “stood by his assurance and never broke” his promise.

“Since then, I announced projects worth several crores for my constituency but he (Tiwari) never stopped me from doing so despite my being a mere legislator,” he recalled. “All projects that I announced for my constituency Tiwariji approved them one by one.”

Singh recalled he was “moved by Tiwariji’s gesture when one night at around 1am he called me up to tell me that the CBI had given me a clean chit in the case pertaining to the alleged sex scandal against me”.

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 15:24 IST