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27 December, 2009

Narayan Dutt Tiwari’s exit

Narayan Dutt Tiwari’s resignation as Governor of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday in the wake of a sex scandal brings to an ignominious end a successful political career that spanned seven long decades.

“I am too old and have no desire to continue as Chief Minister or hold any other assignment and would like to be relieved after a rather illustrious innings,” he was quoted as saying when he decided to relinquish the office of Chief Minister of Uttaranchal three years ago. However, he accepted the governorship of Andhra Pradesh.

He had served more than once as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, before Uttaranchal was carved out it. He had also been a minister at the Centre.

It was a spy camera report telecast by a Telugu news channel that forced him to quit. It showed that Tiwari, 85, was not too old for fun. The channel’s claim that he had intervened in the award of mining licences in return for sexual favours amply justified its intrusion into his privacy.

Tiwari has figured in media reports of sex scandals for at least a decade. The Centre apparently sought his resignation in view of the public outcry caused by the TV expose.

I was personally struck by the feudal charm that Narayan Dutt Tiwari exuded when I met him at Lucknow in 1989. He was serving his third term as UP Chief Minister at the time. I was Associate Editor of Deccan Herald of Bangalore and was touring UP and Bihar to assess the political situation on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections.

Tiwari was holding a press conference when I arrived at his official residence. I sent in my visiting card and he called me in immediately. As I walked into the room, he said, “Welcome,” and then, turning to the local media persons, added, “Mr. Bhaskar comes to us with the fragrance of the South!”

The sexual misconduct which brought the curtain down on Tiwari's public life was part of the feudal air that surrounded him. Several persons in authority are known to have been notorious womanizers. A few years ago Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong’s personal physician, Dr. Li Zhisui, revealed that there was a steady flow of virgins to his bedroom for him to sleep with.

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