Tiwari, Mulayam warmth sparks buzz

FP

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav met former chief minister and veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari in Lucknow Saturday, giving rise to speculation in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls.

Tiwari, who arrived in Lucknow after six years, addressed Mulayam as his younger brother and Akhilesh as nephew six times during his interaction with newsmen.

"I am 88 years old now and happy that younger brother Mulayam and nephew Akhilesh are doing well in UP. Now with Akhilesh leading the state, Mulayam is seen as a hope for leading the country," Tiwari said. Mulayam and Akhilesh smiled as Tiwari hailed their leadership.

The meeting at 1A Mall Avenue, the bungalow allotted to Tiwari as former CM of the state, lasted 40 minutes.

However, Tiwari did not commit on joining active politics and supporting the SP in elections. "I may not be alive till the next election. I am not in the best of health but will surely do whatever is possible for Mulayam," he said.

The leaders termed the visit non-political. "Tiwariji has arrived after a long gap so it was a courtesy call only. Only he will speak today. I have a long association with him in the Vidhan Sabha and Parliament," Mulayam said.

Tiwari left it to mediapersons to draw conclusions regarding the meeting. "It is up to you to decide, I will not say anything," he said.

On his parent party's performance, Tiwari said: "Which Congress?" When reminded that it was the party led by Sonia Gandhi, he said: "It is led by Sonia but the Prime Minister is Manmohan Singh. It is better to ask the PM regarding performance."

On the possibility of a visit to the Congress's state headquarters, Tiwari asked: "Where is the Congress office?" Since he arrived in Lucknow on Friday, the only Congress leader to visit Tiwari was his former ministerial colleague Ammar Rizvi. Rizvi also put up a hoarding outside his residence welcoming Tiwari to Lucknow.

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