As the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly election inches closer, political switchovers are now an everyday event. However, in this election season, the Samajwadi Party seems to be firming its roots in the Purvanchal region. After the brother of jailed mafia turned politician Mukhtar Ansari, Sigbatullah Ansari switching over to SP from BSP earlier this year, there is a new buzz about the powerful Brahmin leader of Purvanchal, Hari Shankar Tiwari along with his son Vinay Shankar Tiwari switching to Samajwadi Party.
According to highly placed sources, Hari Shankar Tiwari’s son Vinay, who is BSP MLA from Chillupar Assembly seat in Gorakhpur, recently met Akhilesh in Lucknow. Sources also revealed that SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav spoke to Hari Shankar Tiwari over a video call as the latter couldn’t come in person due to health issues. Hari Shankar is considered a big name among Brahmin leaders of Purvanchal and with his family coming within the SP fold, it will strengthen the SP roots in Purvanchal ahead of the crucial 2022 UP Polls.
Meanwhile, if Vinay Shankar Tiwari switches to SP then this will be the second setback for BSP in Purvanchal after Shah Alam alias Guddugu Jamali left the party recently. Vinay Tiwari, son of former minister and Bahubali leader Hari Shankar Tiwari, who has a stronghold in Purvanchal, is a BSP MLA from Chillupar seat of Gorakhpur. If Tiwari leaves BSP then it will also be seen as a setback for Brahmin outreach of the BSP for 2022 UP Polls.
Hari Shankar Tiwari, who is a former cabinet minister and influential leader of Brahmin politics in Purvanchal, is considered to be a big Brahmin face. In such a situation, if Hari Shankar Tiwari’s son Vinay Tiwari joins SP, there may be a political advantage for the SP, especially on some seats of Purvanchal and adjoining areas. Hari Shankar Tiwari is considered to have a hold not only in Gorakhpur but in all the districts of Purvanchal.
In Purvanchal it is a common belief that strongmen like Mukhtar Ansari and Brajesh Singh followed the footsteps of Hari Shankar Tiwari and entered into the world of politics. The feud between Virendra Pratap Shahi and Pandit Hari Shankar Tiwari is well known in Purvanchal and it also gives fuel to the Pandit vs Thakur caste supremacy war. In the 1980s the battle of supremacy between the Tiwari and Shahi took the color of Thakur vs Brahmin caste politics in this region.
Both Hari Shankar Tiwari and Virendra Shahi were residents of the same Assembly constituency, Chillupar. In the by-election held in 1980, Virendra Pratap Shahi independently contested and won the Laxmipur Assembly seat of Maharajganj. Again in 1985, Shahi won elections and proved his mettle in politics. The empire of both Shahi and Tiwari was established on the equation of Brahmin vs Thakur. In 1985, while living in the jail, Hari Shankar Tiwari contested and won from the Chillupar assembly seat.
Pandit Hari Shankar Tiwari, who became invincible from Chillupar, was defeated in the year 2007 and 2012. In the year 2017, his younger son Vinay Shankar Tiwari reached the Assembly on a BSP ticket. Hari Shankar Tiwari’s elder son Bhishma Shankar alias Kushal Tiwari has been a two-time MP from Sant Kabir Nagar. Now with the influential Tiwari family coming to the SP fold, this will be a boost for the Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party for sure.