About two months ago, when Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav showered praises on veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari on his 87th birthday, at a specially-organised function at the party’s headquarters in Lucknow, many thought that it would be a Yadav gesture to a senior leader. Mulayam had also released a magazine at the venue, which depicted the long political history of Tiwari, highlighting his achievements.
The picture became clearer, when Mulayam’s son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his party prepared to extend a rousing welcome for Tiwari on Thursday, in the state capital. Tiwari would be, perhaps the only one to have a unique distinction of becoming chief minister of the two states - Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. For any regional party, it is mandatory to have its presence and foothold in other states also.
Aiming to expand its stronghold, the Samwjadi Party had convened its national convention in Kolkata and fielded Munawwar Salim of Madhya Pradesh for the Rajya Sabha. Mulayam wanted the party to get foothold in the two states - West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh and is also actively considering to contest the forthcoming Assembly election in Gujarat. The father-son duo would try to pluck Tiwari from the Congress camp and like to associate him directly or indirectly with the Samajwadi Party. If Tiwari blesses the Yadav family and the ruling party and agrees to become the ambassador of the Samajwadi Party in Uttarakhand, Yadav would have two advantages. Firstly, the Samajwadi Party will get a face in the hilly state, where Tiwari has a huge following and acceptability. Secondly, before the 2014 elections, the Samajwadi Party, which is being seen as a Muslim-Yadav party, will also get a Brahmin face.
The party is making efforts to expand its social base and trying to woo the Brahmins also. Keeping this mind,in the last two months, Brahmin officers have been rehabilitated in the key positions. For example, in the police department, in the top four positions - DGP A C Sharma, ADG law and order Arun Kumar Jha, ADG Establishment J L Tripathi and IG Administration Renuka Mishra have been appointed.
Tiwari may have fallen from the grace of the Congress high-command after the infamous CD episode, but he still enjoys popularity in the hilly region.
After the Muzaffarnagar incident of 1994, in which hundreds of agitating people of Uttarakhand were lathicharged and faced police firing and many women assaulted, the Samajwadi Party had lost face and failed to win even a single election. Riding on Tiwari’s popularity, the party is eyeing to get a foothold.