UP 2022: 'Bahubali' Hari Shankar Tiwari's Clan Joins SP; BJP Says SP Should Rename Itself To ‘Mafiawadi Party’
BSP supremo Mayawati had recently expelled Hari Shankar Tiwari’s entire clan from the party.
On Sunday, the Gorakhpur’s Tiwari family joined Samajwadi Party in the presence of Akhilesh Yadav.
Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party (SP), on Sunday (12 December), inflicted a major blow upon the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it welcomed over half a dozen new entrants from the opposing faction into its camp.
The biggest name is that of the family of Gorakhpur’s influential leader Hari Shankar Tiwari—his sons MLA Vinay Shankar Tiwari and former MP Bhishma Shankar Tiwari, and his relative, former assembly speaker Ganesh Shankar Pandey—who joined the SP in the presence of Akhilesh Yadav at the party office in Lucknow.
It must be noted that BSP supremo Mayawati had recently expelled Hari Shankar Tiwari’s entire clan from the party. Given the Tiwari family’s massive political influence, their joining the SP would not only hurt their former party, but could also disturb the balance of the BJP’s Brahmin vote bank in Purvanchal.
Akhilesh hails long association with Hari Shankar Tiwari
“It is a matter of great happiness for us that the family of Pandit Hari Shankar has joined the SP. Hari Shankar has a long association with us as he was connected with Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav). The Samajwadi Party’s family has now become quite large. Today, a big family has joined us. The ‘Ambedkarvadis’ (Ambedkarites) have now joined the ‘Samajvadis’ (Socialists). Now no one stands a chance against the SP. The SP is forming its government in 2022,” exclaimed Akhilesh Yadav.
BJP adopted ‘monarchy’ over ‘democracy’
Speaking to the media, after joining the SP, Vinay Shankar Tripathi said, “the BJP, in 2017, formed its government in the state with mass support and enthusiasm of the people, but this government adopted ‘monarchy’ over ‘democracy’. They have silenced the voices who speak against them.”
He further said that the BJP is sabotaging the society. The government didn’t do any groundwork. He reiterated Akhilesh Yadav’s allegations on the BJP as he said the BJP is stealing the credit of previous government’s works and is installing stones in its name.
“No budget has been allotted to the flood affected area of Gorakhpur. In Gorakhpur University, people from a specific caste (Thakur) are being appointed,” alleged Vinay Shankar Tiwari.
BJP hits back
When asked about the Tiwari family joining the SP, UP Law Minister Brajesh Pathak, taking a satirical dig at the Samajwadi Party, said: “The pace at which all the mafias are entering the Samajwadi Party, it should rename itself as ‘Mafiawadi Party’. Even today, criminals hold sway in their party. Whenever the SP comes into power, ‘mafia raj’ is established.”
The Law Minister further said, “The residence of this family in Purvanchal, famously known as 'Haata', is considered to be the ‘nursery of crime’. Before Yogi Adityanath became the CM, this family used to be the ‘Board of Directors’ of the power-protected crime industry in Gorakhpur and surrounding districts.”
Lakshmi Kant Vajpayee, president of BJP Joining Committee, while speaking to the media said, “We certainly have no issues with them (Tiwari family) joining any party. But when it comes to people from other parties joining the BJP, we do have a screening process, whoever passes through and deems fit for us, we take them in. We don’t think that Hari Shankar Tiwari’s family joining the BJP would benefit us in any way.”
The man who marked the beginning of ‘mafia-rule’ in UP
Hari Shankar Tiwari was the first politician, who, while being in prison, won an assembly election as an independent candidate. He first became an MLA in 1985 from the Chillupar constituency.
Beginning in 1985, he maintained his winning streak for six consecutive terms, spanning over 22 years. Not only this, from 1997 to 2007, no matter which party ruled the state, he remained a cabinet minister in the government of Uttar Pradesh.
Hari Shankar Tiwari continually bagged the cabinet minister chair under Ram Prakash Gupta in 2000, Rajnath Singh in 2001, Mayawati in 2002, and in Mulayam Singh’s government from 2003 to 2007. Thus, his social and political influence was such that no government was able to sideline him for this long.
Throughout his political journey, Hari Shankar Tiwari lost only two elections, once in 2007, and then in 2012, after which he did not contest any election. However, his political influence is still intact as he established his family in the politics of the state. He regained control over his traditional seat of Chillupar in 2017, though this time, it was his son Vinay Shankar Tiwari, who managed to become an MLA during the Modi wave.
Since the 80s, more than 26 cases related to robbery, murder, kidnapping, snatching and obstructing government work have been registered against Hari Shankar Tiwari. It is noteworthy that no matter how many allegations have been levelled against him, not a single one has been proven till date. Given his muscle power and political influence, no one ever testified against him.
CM Yogi Adityanath led-BJP government resolved to make UP a “mafia-free” state. On Adityanath’s orders, the police and the administration came down heavily on the Tiwari clan as many cases were reopened and new criminal cases were filed against the family. However, the terror of Hari Shankar is such that the police cases filed in April 2017, with as many as 22 police reminders, is still pending.
While the BJP’s whip on the mafias has considerably weakened the family’s political influence, Hari Shankar is still considered to be a prominent Brahmin face in the politics of Purvanchal. It is evident that by including the Tiwari clan into his party, Akhilesh Yadav has tried to garner Brahmin votes for his party in eastern UP.
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