Hari Shankar Tiwari: UP’s ex don-neta dead; will his bête noire, CM Yogi, attend funeral?

All eyes are on whether CM Yogi Adityanath will attend his final rites

NEW DELHI | Updated: 17 May, 2023 11:34 am IST
Tiwari was also a heavyweight railway contractor.

NEW DELHI: Former Uttar Pradesh minister Hari Shankar Tiwari, a prominent figure in the state’s politics and a fierce rival of CM Yogi Adityanath, passed away on Tuesday evening at the age of 90. Tiwari, who had been suffering from acute kidney problems for the past few years, breathed his last at his residence in Gorakhpur.

Born in Barhalganj town, Tiwari represented the Chillupar seat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly for an impressive six terms from 1985 to 2002. Throughout his political career, he displayed remarkable personal popularity, winning elections as both an independent candidate and as a member of the Congress party. His charisma and connection to the regional dynamics made him a formidable force in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

As a founding member of the Loktantrik Congress party, Tiwari served as a cabinet minister in the governments led by Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati, and Mulayam Singh Yadav from 1997 to 2007.

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Though Tiwari and CM Yogi never directly faced off in an election, they are known as leaders representing UP’s two major interest groups: Brahmins and Thakurs. CM Yogi’s dislike for Tiwari is well-known in Purvanchal. After CM Yogi assumed office in March 2017, a raid was conducted at Tiwari’s house (Tiwari Hata) in Gorakhpur, which sparked protests on the streets. Tiwari’s supporters called it a retaliatory action.

The former mafia don was widely regarded as a heavyweight in politics and had a significant influence among the Brahmin community in Uttar Pradesh. His elder son, Bhishma Shankar Tiwari, served as an MP from the Sant Kabir Nagar constituency, while his younger son, Vinay Shankar Tiwari, represented the Chillupar seat in the previous UP assembly.

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Tiwari’s demise has left the people of the Jatashankar area mourning. His last rites are scheduled to take place at Mukti Path in Barhalganj town, Gorakhpur district, on Wednesday, as confirmed by his son, Vinay Shankar Tiwari.

Throughout his political career, Hari Shankar Tiwari left an indelible mark on the politics of Purvanchal. Even as the Brahmin vs. Thakur rivalry continues, today’s Uttar Pradesh has no Brahmin leader on par with Tiwari’s stature and influence.

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Akhilesh Yadav, the national president of the Samajwadi Party, expressed his sorrow over Tiwari’s demise, offering his heartfelt condolences to the grieving family. Gorakhpur BJP MP Ravi Kishan also conveyed his condolences, praying for his soul to find eternal peace.

As the funeral preparations are underway, all eyes are on whether CM Yogi Adityanath will attend his final rites.


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