The overtures of Samajwadi Party to Congress veteran ND Tiwari, who holds a clout among electorate in Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh, ahead of 2014 general elections has given rise to speculation of growing proximity between the former chief minister with the party.
Ever since Mulayam Singh Yadav extended an invitation to ND Tiwari to stay in Lucknow earlier this month, political circles in Uttarakhand have been rife with speculation about the growing proximity between the Congress veteran and the SP.
A number of SP leaders and government functionaries from UP have met Tiwari recently at his residence here at "Anant Van" where the Congress leader leads a somewhat reclusive life after being marginalised by his party following the Andhra Pradesh Raj Bhawan CD controversy and the paternity suit against him.
Accompanied by party leaders, SP MLA Sharda Prasad Shukla, who represents the Sarojini Nagar seat in Uttar Pradesh Assembly, met Tiwari here on Sunday and extended an invitation to him to stay in Lucknow so that UP government could benefit from his political sagacity and administrative acumen.
Shukla later told reporters that he had come to meet the 87-year-old leader at the SP chief's behest to seek his guidance and request him to shift base to Lucknow and give the benefit of his "rich fund of political experience" to the Samajwadi Party government in the state.
The meeting between Samajwadi Party leader and Tiwari who was twice chief minister of UP and once of Uttarakhand lasted about an hour during which he shared with them his memories of leaders like Jai Prakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia.
Tiwari also described SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav as an old friend at the meeting with Shukla. Former president of the Uttarakhand unit of Samajwadi Party Vinod Barthwal described Tiwari as the symbol of the common cultural heritage of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
At Singh's directive, the deputy chairman of Uttar Pradesh Planning Commission Navin Chandra Vajpayee met Tiwari at his residence here yesterday to seek his advice on governance matters.
Sources close to Tiwari said SP chief Yadav and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will soon meet Tiwari.
The growing warmth between Tiwari and SP has not been a one sided affair. While the deputy chairman of UP planning commission took tips from Tiwari on governance matters here, OSD to the octogenarian leader Bhawani Dutt Bhatt met Mulayam Singh on his behalf in Lucknow and presented to him a bouquet of flowers.
The growing proximity between Tiwari and SP has given rise to speculation that Mulayam's party may be seeking the help of the Congress veteran, who knows the pulse of the electorate in Uttar Pradesh, for 2014 general elections, especially for making forays into the hill areas where Tiwari is said to wield considerable clout.