Uttarakhand election: ND Tiwari joins BJP but will he attract Brahmin votes for the party?

Meet the latest recruit to the BJP's cause in Uttarakhand, the man rumoured to be a Brahmin heart-throb and the X-factor in the forthcoming polls.

Those who understand the nuances and cadences of Hindi would agree if there is one politician who is a perfect fit for the proverb langot ka dheela hona, it is the man who could have once been the prime minister of India.

 Uttarakhand election: ND Tiwari joins BJP but will he attract Brahmin votes for the party?

ND Tiwari. Reuters

In 1991, when the Congress was looking for a leader after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, it was widely believed that the crown would be passed on to Narayan Dutt Tiwari, the rumoured heartthrob of Brahmins of north India.

Unfortunately for Tiwari — and perhaps fortunately for India — Tiwari lost the 1991 Lok Sabha elections by a narrow margin, thus getting booted out of the race by PV Narasimha Rao.

Not many would remember Tiwari for his near-miss then. But, images of the octogenarian Tiwari supine in the Governor House of Andhra Pradesh with three women allegedly testing the knots of his loin cloth are still ripe in everybody's memory.

After the CD came out and became a blockbuster on the social network, Tiwari resigned, citing ill health. (Yes, the grainy visuals gave enough evidence that not everything was right about the governor). But, that was just the beginning of Tiwari's juicy story.

For the next few years, he remained embroiled in a paternity case, refusing to own up a young man who called Tiwari his father. The drama dragged on for several years, with salacious and comic details, till the world realised that Tiwariji had finally been blessed with a son at the ripe age of 90. Intermittently, he would be spotted pulling cheeks of a young woman or getting a sudden rush of blood that would make him break the dance floor, kick his walking stick.

For several reasons, Tiwari was a subject of wink-wink-nudge-nudge jokes in the Congress. Juicy narratives of his fixation with a particular female name (no hints there) were the staple of chai pe charcha within the party.

It was rumoured that Tiwari would suddenly disappear, leading to panic among his colleagues and the bureaucracy. To track him down, anxious followers would then call up several name with one thing in common -- a particular name. And after days of calling, Tiwari would either be discovered in Jaipur or some faraway corner of Uttar Pradesh, dealing with his obsession, his idée fixe.

This man with a life so colorful that it would make Princess Di look dull in comparison now joins the BJP, ostensibly to influence the Brahmin voters, at the behest of Amit Shah, in Uttarakhand.

Now, before you laugh at the comic circus that is unfolding, spare a thought for the Brahmins of Uttarakhand. They must have done something really interesting to deserve a nonagenarian politician who was hounded out of office because of an alleged sex scandal as their poster boy. Perhaps somebody should light up a candle at Kedarnath for the well-being of Uttarakhand Brahmins.

Tiwari, like an ambitious politician and a doting father of a son he discovered at 90, is, of course, justified in his new venture. He is doing his best to making up for his absence from son's life for decades, not giving him the love, care and attention the boy deserved.

Just a few days ago, he had written to Mulayam Singh Yadav advising cease-fire in the battle with Akhilesh and hand over the reins of the party to the son. The missive, apart from an attempt at brokering peace, also had a small request: Ticket for his son latest son. Obviously, Akhilesh and Mulayam had enough of the father-son bond and ignored Tiwari's request, making the Brahmin leader knock on Shah's door.

But, it is impossible to be amazed by the BJP's antics in Uttarakhand. If it is indeed eyeing Tiwari as one of the stars, the vote-magnet for Brahmins, the BJP must be really desperate, willing to do anything for votes.
Already, the joke about the BJP in Uttarakhand is that it is living up the Shakespearean adage of the name being nothing: What you call the BJP may be Congress in a saffron outfit. The levity has been inspired by the BJP's decision to give tickets to Congress turncoats — including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna who had attempted an Arunachal Pradesh in the state but was outfoxed by Harish Rawat — at the cost of BJP leaders. The first list of candidates has at least 15 imports from the Congress, a number that has left many party veterans fuming.

Perhaps having Tiwari as a prominent face of the party would help the BJP recover lost ground. Tiwari has always believed that he is immensely popular among women. Having him around is, for the BJP, perhaps half the battle won.

Updated Date: Jan 18, 2017 17:52:59 IST