Top BJP leaders pay homage to ND Tiwari; Congress accuses appropriating legacy

Vinod Kumar Shukla

New Delhi, Oct 22: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have tried giving the message to the people of Uttar Pradesh that the Congress does not have respect for its leaders other than the Nehru-Gandhi family in a state where Congress has been able to make some dent among the Brahmin community in view of some recent developments. Knowing all this the Congress accused the BJP of appropriating its leaders.

However, the fact of the matter is that former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand N D Tiwari had friends across the party lines and his proximity with another former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is known to everyone. He was close to some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders as well which was reflected while paying homage to the mortal remains of the departed leaders while senior Congress leaders were conspicuously absent from the final journey of the veteran politician. Leaders from other parties beelined to pay their respect to him.

Despite some controversies surrounding him, he commanded a great clout and respect not only in Uttar Pradesh but Uttarakhand as well. Actually the three-time UP chief minister's mortal remains were escorted from Delhi to Lucknow by deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma which was received chief minister Yogi Adityanath at the airport and to BJP leadership along with Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) present there but Congress was represented largely by leaders like Ammar Rizvi, Pramod Tiwari and Sanjay Sinh, who are termed as constituency leaders in the state.

Also Read | Former UP CM ND Tiwari passes away on his 93rd birthday

Both the former chief ministers from the Samajwadi Party Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav paid their homage to the departed leader while BSP was represented by its senior most leader after Mayawati Satish Mishra.

The Uttar Pradesh government had announced two-day state mourning. From the airport, the body of Tiwari was taken to UP Assembly where UP governor Ram Naik, Bihar governor Lalji Tandon and other leaders paid homage. Tiwari served Uttarakhand as its chief minister, governor of Andhra Pradesh and Union minister with portfolios such as finance, foreign affairs, industry, petroleum and labour in the Rajiv Gandhi government.

The body of Tiwari was later brought to Uttarakhand's Pantnagar district in an air ambulance and brought to Kathgodam Guest House for people to pay homage to their leader. UP minister Baldev Olakh had accompanied it from Lucknow. The last rites were held with full state honours in his home district of Nainital.

Meanwhile, the Congress accused the BJP of appropriating Tiwari's legacy, blamed Tiwari's son, Rohit Shekhar, for the thin party presence. "We wanted Tiwariji's mortal remains to be brought to the UPCC office but our request was turned down by Rohit," said a Congress leader. But Tiwari's personal secretary Mukesh Sharma denied the Congress accusation.

Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma's condolence message says that Tiwari's stature was second to none. The BJP seems to have walked the extra mile. A long-time Gandhi family loyalist, Tiwari had announced support for BJP ahead of the 2017 Uttarakhand assembly elections but had stopped short of joining the party.

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