N D Tiwari on Saturday resigned as the governor of Andhra Pradesh in the wake of a raging controversy after a sting operation purportedly showed him in a compromising position with three women. Tiwari, 86, a former chief minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, sent his resignation to President Pratibha Patil on 'health grounds', said a press communique from the Raj Bhavan.
The resignation came a day after Telugu television channel ABN Andhra Jyothi aired a footage captured in a sting operation of an elderly man with three women in Raj Bhavan in a compromising position, which the channel claimed was of Tiwari. The Raj Bhavan denied it and promptly approached the high court on Friday and got a restraint order on the channel from telecasting the footage.
The sting operation evoked a string of demands from political parties, like the Telugu Desam Party, the Communist Party of India Marxist and the Bharatiya Janata Party, that he be sacked. Women's organisations also staged demonstrations deploring the governor's behaviour and demanded that he step down immediately.
The Congress welcomed the resignation, saying Tiwari has taken the appropriate decision. Party sources said the governor of some neighbouring state could be given additional charge of Andhra Pradesh for some time.
Indications that Tiwari cannot continue in the post emerged when the Centre sought a report from the state cshief secretary on the issue today and highly-placed Congress sources said that he would have to resign in view of the acute embarrassment he had brought to the organisation.
"I think he has taken an appropriate decision keeping in view the high standards of public life. We welcome it," All India Congress Committee media department chief Janardan Dwivedi told reporters in Delhi. Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed had earlier said that the high court is looking into the matter.
The Telugu channel's Editor-in-Chief Vemuri Radhakrishna said they have evidence to back what they have shown.
"Let them serve a defamation notice. We are even ready to deal with the issue," he said.
This is not the first time that Tiwari, also a former Union minister, has figured in controversies involving women.
Sometime ago, lawyer Rohit Shekhar had filed a paternity suit in Delhi high court against Tiwari, claiming that he was born out of intimate relationship between the Congress leader and his mother Ujwala Sharma.
The charge was, however, denied by the governor. The Delhi high court had rejected the petition on the ground that Shekhar filed it a long time after becoming a major and was time-barred.