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N D Tiwari doubts Rahul's potential as future PM

Last updated on: December 2, 2012 18:49 IST

N D Tiwari doubts Rahul's potential as future PM

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

Veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari on Sunday virtually questioned party general secretary Rahul Gandhi's potential to emerge as India's future prime minister.

Talking to mediapersons during a visit to Lucknow, Tiwari clearly expressed his doubts on the issue. "Yeh to bhavishya hi batayega", (only time will tell) was his loaded reply to a pointed query on Rahul's chances as the future prime minister.

The octogenarian Congressman, who has been four time UP chief minister, besides that of Uttarakhand, and has held key portfolios including finance, external affairs and industries under the prime ministership of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, however, did not mince words in not only showering accolades on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, but in also projecting him as prime minister material.

"Aaj to Mulayam Singh ji ki baat sochiye aur Akhilesh ji ki baat sochiye. Akhilesh ji UP chalayein...aur Mulayam Singh ji Bharat chalayein (Let Akhilesh run UP and Mulayam run India)", quipped Tiwari in the same vein as he dismissed the suggestion on Rahul.

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Image: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi
Photographs: Reuters

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'Which Congress are you talking about?'

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As if that was not enough, he went a step further on being asked if he approved of the ways adopted by the Congress. "Which Congress are you talking about?", came the retort, with which he went on to add, "I know of one Congress headed by Sharad Pawar."

And no sooner than a scribe asked if he intended to visit the state Congress office, he shot back once again, "Where is the Congress office?"

Significantly, all this happened after Mulayam and his son, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, called on Tiwari, who in turn reciprocated the visit by driving down to Mulayam's residence.

Sure enough, the so called "courtesy" gesture has sparked off speculation about Tiwari playing the Brahmin mascot for Samajwadi Party in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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Image: Veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari


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Tiwari could be Mulayam's Brahmin card

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That Mulayam has been trying to cultivate Tiwari was no secret. The SP chief was among the very few senior political leaders who came out in open support of Tiwari even after the latter was under fire from different quarters for his alleged involvement in a sleaze activity.

Soon after Tiwari's arrival in Lucknow on Saturday, Mulayam's close confidante and party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary called on him and fixed an appointment for Mulayam and Akhilesh who went down to Tiwari's Mall Avenue residence.

The Samajwadi Party government also ordered immediate renovation of the otherwise unkempt residence allotted to Tiwari as "ex chief minister" many years ago.

Political analysts were of the view that Mulayam's overtures towards Tiwari were guided by his desperation to woo the upper caste Brahmins, whose support had once given his rival Bahujan Samaj Party a glaring lead over SP.

And knowing that Brahmins were as much disenchanted with BSP as they were with Congress, with the former failing to show any potential to be front-runner in the next electoral race for Lok Sabha, Mulayam is hopeful of succeeding in baiting the community.


Image: SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav
Photographs: Reuters

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