Speculation about the Samajwadi chief getting close to the latter ahead of the 2014 LS polls

Samajwadi Party (SP) president, Mulayam Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav called on the former Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Narain Dutt Tiwari, at his Mall Avenue residence here on Saturday. The father and son spent about 40 minutes with the veteran Congress leader, but refused to divulge the details of the meeting.

The bungalow at number 2, Mall Avenue allotted to Mr. Tiwari in his capacity as a former Chief Minister was recently spruced up by the State government for his visit. The former Andhra Pradesh Governor arrived in Lucknow on Friday and will return to Dehradun on December 6. Mr. Tiwari has come to Lucknow after about seven years.

Their meeting was held in the backdrop of intense speculation about Mr. Singh getting close to Mr. Tiwari ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2014. The veteran Congress leader still has considerable political clout in Uttarakhand.

Describing the visit as a courtesy call, Mr. Singh said he had personal relations with Mr. Tiwari. The veteran Congress leader also termed it a courtesy visit. He said the visit was a non-political one and he was on family terms with Mr. Singh. The 87-year-old four-time Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said he was hopeful that Mr. Akhilesh Yadav would work for the development of the State.

On FDI in retail, Mr. Tiwari told reporters though he was personally in favour of FDI, but cannot force his opinion on others.

Ever since Mr. Singh released a souvenir titled Narain Deep at the SP headquarters here on October 18 to mark the 87th birthday of the veteran Congressman, it has given rise to speculations in the political circles. The souvenir was brought out by the Sushila Tiwari Inter College in Lucknow, named after Mr. Tiwari’s wife. Mr. At a press conference on October 18, the SP president heaped praises on Mr. Tiwari and said he had been fortunate to have worked with him when “Tiwariji” was the Chief Minister and he was the Leader of Opposition.

‘Very close to Tiwariji’

Mr. Singh recalled that Mr. Tiwari had forecast that one day he (Mr. Mulayam) would become the Chief Minister, which became a reality in 1989. “I was very close to Tiwariji,” Mr. Singh said. Recalling his recent meeting with the former Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Mr. Singh said that he had extended an invitation to Mr. Tiwari for staying in Lucknow.

As the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Tiwari had earned the sobriquet of vikas purush (leader for development) for his emphasis on development. It was during his tenure that the condition of the roads all over the State was upgraded and the foundation stones of several industries and power projects were laid.

Last Congress CM

Mr. Tiwari was the last Congress Chief Minister of the State.

He lost power in 1989, ironically, to Mr. Mulayam Singh, who succeeded him as the head of the Janata Dal government. The Congress with 90 odd MLAs in the 1989 Assembly elections managed to be the largest Opposition party, and by a quirk of fate, it was Mr. Tiwari who became the Leader of Opposition with Mr. Mulayam Singh as the Chief Minister.

Since 1989, there has been a progressive decline in the political fortunes of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.