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Mulayam ‘lifeline’ for Tiwari

Lucknow, Nov. 28: Congress veteran N.D. Tiwari’s political isolation is set to end following an invite from an “old friend” to visit the Uttar Pradesh capital, apparently to help prepare a blueprint for the state he once ruled.

Sources said the 87-year-old, three-time chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had accepted the invitation from Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav and would visit Lucknow on November 30.

Tiwari is credited with the development of new Lucknow, especially the posh Gomtinagar area which is now a planned bustling town.

Later, as chief minister of Uttarakhand, after a new state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, Tiwari had laid out the roadmap for its development by creating an industrial zone in Rudrapur.

“Tiwari wants to revisit the urban projects in Lucknow, meet old friends and acquaintances,” his secretary and spokesperson Bhavani Bhatt said.

Sources in the Uttar Pradesh government said Tiwari would be a state guest as he had been invited by Mulayam and his son, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Samajwadi sources said Mulayam met Tiwari in October at his residence in Uttarakhand where the two spoke about their association since the eighties.

“Tiwariji se hamein bahut kuch seekhna hai (we have a lot to learn from Tiwariji),” Mulayam said after the meeting. Tiwari described Mulayam as an “old friend”.

The invite came at a time Tiwari, who has been embroiled in many controversies, was leading the life of a political recluse.

If a sleaze CD controversy erupted while he was governor of Andhra Pradesh, a man filed a paternity suit claiming Tiwari was his biological father.

Although Tiwari had campaigned for some Congress leaders in Uttarakhand in the recent state polls, party sources said he was officially “an untouchable”.

A Tiwari loyalist in Uttarakhand, however, said Mulayam’s invite was “likely” to end the veteran leader’s isolation.

Asked if he had any plans to join active politics again and, perhaps contest elections, Tiwari’s secretary Bhatt said the former chief minister was “committed” to development.

Tiwari, it is learnt, had recently asked civil aviation minister Ajit Singh to start an air service between Lucknow and Dehra Dun.

He is also learnt to have written to environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan, asking her about the progress of 90 environment-related projects in Uttarakhand.

“So he is not averse to returning to active politics if it is necessary,” Bhatt told The Telegraph from Dehra Dun.

In Lucknow, however, political circles were abuzz with speculation that the Samajwadi Party’s move to court Tiwari had more to do with politics than just friendship and development. Sources said the party wanted to get a foothold in Uttarakhand through Tiwari, who still has a support base in the hill state.