New Delhi: Congress veteran Narayan Dutt Tiwari has joined the BJP this morning at party chief Amit Shah's residence in Delhi. The BJP's latest import from the Congress is 91 years old, has been the chief minister of two states, a union minister and a governor, though that stint was cut short when he resigned after a sex scandal. Also joined the BJP with Mr Tiwari today was Rohit Shekhar, acknowledged by the veteran politician as his son three years ago after a six-year legal battle to establish paternity.
Mr Tiwari's induction into the BJP is seen as an attempt to consolidate the Brahmin vote in Uttarakhand, where elections will be held next month. The BJP already faces a rebellion in the hill state after naming about 15 people who joined the party only recently as candidates for the election, among them the Congress legislators who rebelled against current Chief Minister Harish Rawat last year pushing him to seek a confidence vote.
The party has so far announced 64 candidates for Uttarakhand, which has 70 assembly seats.
ND Tiwari is a former chief minister of Uttarakhand. He was also chief minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh - before Uttarakhand was carved out of the state - thrice. Mr Tiwari had been the Governor of Andhra Pradesh for two years when he resigned in 2009 amid severe embarrassment for the Congress after allegations of a sex scandal at the Raj Bhawan or Governor's house. 86 then, Mr Tiwari had cited poor health as the reason for his quitting.
A political heavyweight once, Mr Tiwari was even considered a potential candidate to be Prime Minister in the early 1990s. He quit the Congress in 1994 and launched his own party the Congress (Tiwari) along with another prominent Congressman Arjun Singh, but they later returned when Sonia Gandhi took over as Congress president.