Dehradun: N D Tiwari, often called the grand old man of the Indian politics, is gearing up to perform another feat.
After accepting Rohit Shekhar as his biological son, the 89-year Tiwari, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, is now planning to file nomination papers as an independent candidate from the Nainital constituency, a seat he nurtured assiduously and represented many times. If he wins, he might be one of the oldest parliamentarians in the 16th Lok Sabha.
The Congress early this month turned down a request for a party ticket from Tiwari and instead, reposed faith in the sitting MP K C Singh Baba. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former chief minister B S Koskhiyari is also trying his luck as a first-timer in the general elections from Nainital.
However, Tiwari has refused to comment on the issue. However, sources confirmed he would be filing nomination papers shortly.
Tiwari has been residing at Nainital and nearby areas during the past fortnight to gauge the mood of the people in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election. "Tiwariji hold talks with lot of people everyday," said his OSD Bhawani Bhatt.
Tiwari is perhaps the only politician who has the distinction of holding several prestigious political posts ranging from Union finance minister to Governor besides being chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Tiwari had also held the post of deputy chairman of the planning commission for a brief period.
Being close to the Nehru-Gandhi family, Tiwari had remained at the forefront of the Congress politics for decades before shifting base to Uttarakhand and then to Andhra Pradesh, where he was forced to resign after an alleged sex scandal inside the Raj Bhavan.
But Tiwari's plan to file nomination papers as an independent candidate has sent ripples in both the Congress and BJP camps. Efforts are being made from both the parties to persuade Tiwari not contest from Nainital.
"Be it the BJP or the Congress, if Tiwari contests from Nainital, it will not be good for any party. But Tiwari will harm the Congress more in the real sense," said a political observer.
Tiwari's endeavour to stage a political comeback is also being seen as an attempt by his son Shekhar to keep his father at the forefront of the Indian politics so he can inherit his legacy. On the other hand, an attempt is also being made to set up Tiwari Vichar Manch, a political party ahead of the election.