Bigwigs keen to contest from Nainital                     

Dehradun, Mar 11: The Nainital Lok Sabha seat in Uttarakhand has all of a sudden shot into prominence with stalwarts owing allegiance to different political parties keen on contesting from the constituency.  

The names doing the rounds for the constituency include Congress veteran N D Tiwari and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi whose traditional Varanasi seat is likely to be given to party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

In the event of Modi contesting from Varanasi, Joshi's second choice is likely to be either Nainital, his home turf, or Kanpur, BJP sources here said.

Several BJP leaders in Uttarakhand are also interested in contesting from Nainital. Four-time MP Bacchi Singh Rawat had recently quit all party posts in protest against his name being dropped from the list of probables for the seat. 

Congress leader N D Tiwari is keen on contesting from Nainital.

As backroom efforts are afoot to pacify the senior BJP leader affectionately called ''Bachda", some other party leaders including former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and Balraj Passi are also keen on contesting from Nainital.

Passi had humbled N D Tiwari in 1991 from Nainital.   The suspense over who from the BJP will contest from the seat may be over on March 13 when party's Central Election Committee is likely to meet.

But, BJP insiders say one of the veterans will get the ticket as the party is gearing up to wrest the seat from K C Singh Bawa of the Congress.   

Seasoned Congress leader Tiwari, who was chief minister of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh several times, is also keen on contesting from Nainital, a seat he nurtured for long.

Though he has been offered a ticket by the Samajwadi Party to enter the fray from Nainital, sources close to him said he wants to throw his hat into the electoral ring as an Independent.

His keenness to contest as an Independent is being attributed by political observers to the alleged atrocities against activists of the statehood movement by the Samajwadi Party during 1990s when the stir was at its peak.

Tiwari recently hit newspaper headlines as he owned up his biological son Rohit Shekhar after a prolonged legal battle.


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