Vajpayee’s protege Lalji Tandon sworn in as Bihar Guv

Senior BJP leader and a protege of former PM Atal Bihar Vajpayee, Lalji Tandon. PTI file photo

Senior BJP leader and a protege of former PM Atal Bihar Vajpayee, Lalji Tandon was sworn in as Governor of Bihar here on Thursday.

The 83-year-old veteran leader served as a BJP Lok Sabha member from 2009-14 representing Lucknow when Vajpayee could not contest the parliamentary poll due to his ill-health.

Tandon, who is also known as rakhi-brother of BSP president Mayawati, enjoys cordial relations with the rival party leader even today. He had served under her as Urban Development minister when Mayawati was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Despite the love-hate relationship between the BJP and the BSP, Tandon maintained warm ties with his rakhi-sister, also known as Behen ji.

Born in Lucknow on April 12, 1935, Tandon has been a member of the UP Legislative Assembly thrice besides being a member of the Legislative Council twice. He served as a cabinet minister in Kalyan Singh regime as well as short-stint Rajnath Singh Government in UP.

It was for the first time in 2009 that he was asked to contest Lok Sabha poll from Lucknow, a seat represented by Vajpayee since 1991. Tandon defeated Congress’ Rita Bahuguna Joshi (now in BJP and a minister in Yogi Government) by over 40,000 votes.

Earlier, during 2004 Lok Sabha elections, he was mired in a controversy when he was officiating as election manager of Vajpayee in Lucknow. On his (Tandon) birthday on April 12, 2004, he reportedly organised a function at Chandrashekhar Azad Park to distribute sarees among women. This was part of Vajpayee’s election campaign. But a stampede broke out in which 21 women died. After much brouhaha, Tandon was removed as poll manager. Later, he was exonerated of all the charges. Since then, he had been leading an inactive political life although his son Ashutosh Tandon, an MLA in UP, is a minister in Yogi Government.

This will be for the first time that the octogenarian leader will serve as a Governor of any State. The previous incumbent in Bihar, Satya Pal Malik, has been shifted as Jammu and Kashmir Governor.

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Vajpayee’s protege Lalji Tandon sworn in as Bihar Guv

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