[dropcap]M[/dropcap]anoj Tiwari, a popular Bhojpuri singer and BJP MP from North-East Delhi, replaced Satish Upadhyay as the party president of the Delhi unit. Tiwari’s elevation can be seen as an attempt by the BJP to woo Purvanchali and Bihari voters, who form a sizeable chunk of the electorate in UP. Given the huge following 45-year-old Tiwari commands among Bhojpuri speaking voters, the BJP will be hoping that his popularity will render into more support for the party from the group. The BJP central leadership has also appointed Nityanand Rai as its Bihar chief. He will be replacing Mangal Pandey. Fifty year old, Rai is a Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Ujiarpur constituency. He is a Yadav, a community over which RJD Chief Lalu Prasad has a strong hold. His appointment is seen as an effort by the BJP to go beyond the upper castes, its traditional voters, and reach out to the OBCs in the caste-conscious state where it lost to JDU-RJD combine in the last assembly polls. Importantly, his elevation may help the BJP in mobilising migrant population from Eastern UP, Bihar and Jharkhand who are said to be nearly one-third of Delhi’s total electorates. Now, BJP is expecting him to change their fate in Purvanchal (Eastern UP). It is to be noted that in the last Assembly elections in Delhi, the Purvanchali voters had drifted towards the Aam Aadmi Party. On the other hand, Tiwari’s predecessor Satish Upadhyay, who has been a councillor and former chairman of the Standing Committee in South Delhi Municipal Corporation, has been in the line of fire after party’s rout in 2015 Assembly polls.
AAP had realised the influential position of people from UP and Bihar in Delhi hence issued tickets to substantial number of candidates from that region. The party at present has 4-5 Purvanchali MLAs in the assembly. Apart from the mammoth responsibility of bringing traditional Purvanchali voters to the party’s fold, Tiwari will also have an uphill task of ending factionalism within the party. Reason for Upadhyay’s removal as a party president was his inability to bring all factions on the same platform. Poor performance of the party in municipal bypolls came as a shock. He apparently failed to neutralise groupism an issue which the party has been facing for a long time. Tiwari has always been a crowd-puller, but the question is whether he will be able to convert his popularity into votes?
Tiwari may not have made much contribution to Delhi or BJP in the past nor he has done any remarkable work for the people but now there is challenge for him to come victorious. However, his several attacks on RSS is one of the reason that BJP has offered him this post specially Amit Shah believes that the party had to face massive defeat in Delhi and Bihar elections due to Mohan Bhagwat’s attitude and endorsements. Manoj Tiwari is a singer, actor, television presenter from Bihar. He has acted in the Bhojpuri genre of the Indian film industry and in 2005 was reported to be one of the two leading male stars of that genre. Tiwari is also involved in politics, having contested the 2009 national elections for the Samajwadi Party. He won the North East Delhi (Lok Sabha constituency) in the 2014 general elections from BJP. Prior to Tiwari’s involvement in cinema, he had spent ten years working as a singer. He lost in 2009 on Samajwadi Party ticket, but Modi wave in 2014, he managed to win on BJP’s ticket. Otherwise, he is always known as a superstar of Bhojpuri cinema. In 2008, the Dutch government issued a 44 Euro-cent postal stamp on singer-actor Manoj Tiwari.
In 2005, Tiwari and Ravi Kishan were the biggest male stars in the flourishing Bhojpuri cinema market and the former was able to charge about Rs 50 lakhs per film. In 2010, Tiwari was a contestant in the fourth season of reality television show Bigg Boss. Tiwari was separated from his wife and child in the speculations of having an affair with Sweta Tiwari, as he had previously worked with her in two films, Kab Aibu Anganwa Hamaar and Ae Bahuji ke Sister. By mid-2011 he and his wife, were involved in divorce proceedings regarding their eleven-year marriage. But anyhow the Big Boss show could not save his family life.
In year 2009, his house in Mumbai was allegedly ransacked by a group of people who were angry about his remarks on Shiv Sena. Tiwari denied having made any comment on the matter, which revolved around a dispute between the Shiv Sena leader, Bal Thackeray, and the Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. In January 2011, it was reported that the BJP might invite him to join its party and that the association with him would assist them to woo North Indians. He had been seen with BJP leaders at an event and had expressed admiration for Shatrughan Sinha, the BJP MP for Patna.
Tiwari was among the first celebrities to make an appearance in support of Ramdev’s hunger strike at the Ramlila Ground protests on 4 June 2011. He sang various patriotic songs to the gathered protestors and claimed that he had ceased filming for a month in order to join the protest. In August that year he was involved in protests surrounding the arrest of Anna Hazare, whose popular anti-corruption movement he approved.
Tiwari has given his presence where ever the crowd pulling was major concern, a permanent resident of Mumbai and occasional visitor to Delhi, his influence at present is confined to a constituency only. How his appointment will work in favour of the party, time will tell. It is too early to reach a conclusion. We wish him all the best.
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