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N D Tiwari - a political marathoner who courted controversies (Obit)

New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) A seasoned politician belonging to the pre-independence era, Narayan Dutt Tiwari was a political marathoner whose later life was mired in controversies that Indias public life had not seen before.

The only politician who was chief minister of two states - Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand - Tiwari spent most of his political life in Congress and served the party in various capacities.

In a rare coincidence, he passed away on the day he was born in 1925.

In his long political life spanning nearly six decades, Tiwari served as an MLA, state minister, chief minister, union minister, member of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and a Governor.

He was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh three times for short terms and served as a minister under former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

Tiwari became chief minister of Uttarakhand in 2002 after pipping Harish Rawat to the post and is the only chief minister in the state to complete a five-year term.

His long career came to an ignominious end when he was forced to resign as Governor of Andhra Pradesh in 2009 after allegations of his involvement in a sex romp in Raj Bhavan unearthed by a sting operation.

Tiwari was also in news after lawyer Rohit Shekhar filed a paternity suit in 2008 claiming the senior politician was his biological father.

The Delhi High Court declared in 2014 that Shekhar was Tiwari's biological son.

Tiwari had earlier denied Shekhar's claims and said the charges were part of a political conspiracy hatched against him by his opponents. But later he publicly accepted that Shekhar was a biological son born to Ujjawala whom he married later. The court, while passing the order, had taken note of the report of Tiwari's DNA test and his public acceptance. Tiwari married Ujjawala when he was 88.

Considered a prime ministerial candidate in 1991 following Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, Tiwari along with Arjun Singh formed the All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) in 1995 following differences with the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. The party later merged with the Indian National Congress after Sonia Gandhi became its chief.

Born in Nainital, Tiwari entered Uttar Pradesh assembly for the first time in 1952. He was Indian Youth Congress President for four years from 1965. Over the next few years he held various ministerial portfolios in Uttar Pradesh before serving as chief minister 1976-77.

Tiwari entered the Lok Sabha in 1980 but went back to the state in 1984 and served as chief minister till September 1985. He again became Chief Minister in January in 1988. He was the last Congress chief minister of the state.

Affable, approachable and articulate, Tiwari was an old generation Congress leader who believed in the warmth of personal ties. He had friends across the political spectrum.

Among the portfolios he held was of Minister of External Affairs in Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet in 1986-87.

Feeling sidelined by the Congress, Tiwari gravitated towards the BJP while Rohit Shekhar joined the party ahead of Uttarakhand assembly elections last year.

Tiwari's official bio-data says he participated in the 'Quit India' movement from 1942-44 and was jailed for 15 months.

--IANS

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