Lalji Tandon demise: A look at how the veteran BJP took over the Uttar Pradesh political landscape
Bhopal, July 21: Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon had a dominating presence in Uttar Pradesh where he served as cabinet minister and was elected to the assembly and council multiple times. Belonging to the Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani era of BJP leaders, Tandon, who died at a hospital in Lucknow early Tuesday, proved himself as an able administrator during his decades-long political career in Uttar Pradesh.
Fondly known as "Babuji" among his supporters, Tandon was known for his proximity to Vajpayee. Tandon represented the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat (2009-14) when the former prime minister did not contest from the high-profile constituency on account of his poor health. He took oath as Madhya Pradesh governor on July 29, 2019, when the Congress was in power in the state, after serving in the same post in Bihar for nearly 11 months.
His tenure in the Raj Bhavan here, too, lasted for nearly 11 months. After taking charge as governor during the Congress government, Tandon ensured his presence was felt in the administration.
His gubernatorial skills were put to test when the Congress government of Chief Minister Kamal Nath faced an internal revolt when 22 party MLAs, including six ministers -all supporters of former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia -resigned in March this year.
Then came a bitter legal battle between the Congress government, the governor and the BJP which was finally settled by the Supreme Court that ruled in favour of Tandon's directive on the matter. Reduced to minority post the resignation of 22 MLAs, the 15-month-old Nath regime collapsed, paving the way for the BJP to form its government under Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Tandon opened the Raj Bhavan kitchen for preparing food packets for the needy. The governor's kitchen has been sending out as many as 100 food packets on a daily basis and sometimes even at a short notice, a spokesperson from the Raj Bhavan said.
Tandon became a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council for the first time in 1978. He served two terms in the Upper House of the state legislature - from 1978 to 1984 and 1990-1996.
Tandon also served as leader of the legislative council from 1997-2002 and held the same post in the assembly from 2003-2007. Upon the BJP's ascension to power in Uttar Pradesh, he served as a minister on more than one occasion.
The veteran leader was appointed the Bihar governor on August 23, 2018 and remained in the post till July 28, 2019 after which he was moved to Madhya Pradesh He had established a number of educational, social and cultural organisations in the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh and had special interest in cattle rearing.