Former Uttarakhand CM ND Tiwari joins BJP2 min read . Updated: 19 Jan 2017, 05:29 AM IST
Narayan Dutt Tiwari is the latest in a series of former Congressmen who have switched sides ahead of the state assembly elections in Uttarakhand
New Delhi: Former Uttarakhand chief minister and Congress veteran Narayan Dutt Tiwari extended support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. Tiwari is the latest in a series of former Congressmen who have switched sides ahead of the state assembly elections in Uttarakhand.
Tiwari met BJP president Amit Shah along with his son Rohit Shekhar Tiwari, and wife Ujjwala Tiwari. “In our meeting with the BJP president, we offered our support to him. It is now up to him to decide how to utilize us. My father blessed him," Rohit Shekhar told PTI.
Interestingly, of the 64 Uttarakhand candidates declared by the BJP so far, 12 are former members of the Congress who have recently switched sides. That’s seen as a sign that the BJP is choosing its nominees on their ability to win elections.
Tiwari was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when Congress was last in power 27 years ago. Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh as a separate state in 2000.
The other prominent former members of Congress party who will contest elections for the BJP are Harak Singh Rawat, a former minister in the state government, Saurabh Bahuguna, son of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, Yashpal Arya, a former state minister, and Satpal Maharaj, a former Union minister.
BJP leaders said the party is confident of performing well in the coming polls. “All the 12 Congress leaders who joined BJP and are now contesting elections are prominent faces in the state and their induction will help BJP in its campaign," said a senior BJP leader from Uttarakhand on conditions of anonymity.
The BJP leader cited above pointed out that during the 2012 assembly polls in the state, of the total 70 seats, BJP won 31 while the ruling Congress managed to get 32. “We lost the election by just one seat in 2012 but this time we are confident of a better performance," he said.
The BJP has three former chief ministers, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, B.C. Khanduri and Ramesh Pokhriyal, in the fray along with Vijay Bahuguna.
“The party leadership is very clear on the agenda, most likely there will be no chief ministerial candidate and all senior leaders have been asked to campaign for the party. The party leadership is also clear that since Koshyari, Khanduri and Pokhriyal are already Lok Sabha members, they will not contest elections. Vijay Bahuguna has ruled himself out of the chief ministerial race," the BJP leader said.