Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav dies at 82 : The Tribune India

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Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav dies at 82

Akhilesh Yadav announces his father's demise



Tribune News Service

Mukesh Ranjan

New Delhi, October 10

Three-time Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav passed away at a private Gurugram hospital on Monday after a prolonged illness. He was 82.

In a tweet, Samajwadi Party confirmed the demise of the veteran politician quoting SP chief Akhilesh Yadav as saying, “My father and everyone’s dear Neta ji is no more.”

Mulayam Singh dominated the national politics in the post-Mandal era by galvanising formidable OBC-Muslim combine in the state, which usually decides the fate of the national government.

Yadav, who began as a wrestler – switched over to school teaching before taking a final plunge into politics. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in Uttar Pradesh eight times from 1967 to 1996.  He was also elected to Lok Sabha seven times since 1996, as he continues to be the member of the lower house.

Yadav became a minister for the first time in Uttar Pradesh in 1977.  He also held the position of Lok Dal president in 1980 and for a period of two years- 1985-87 he was the chief of Janata Dal in Uttar Pradesh.

The Samajwdi leader first became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1989. It was during this tenure that his government ordered firing at ‘Kar Sevaks’ in Ayodhya on November 2, 1990.

After the Babri Mosque demolition in 1992, he again became chief Minister (1993-95). When the Deve Gowda government was formed in 1996, Yadav became the Defence Minister, when Sukhoi- 30 was ordered. He became the Chief Minister of UP for the third time in 2003 and held the position for four years.

Often criticised for promoting his family, friends and close relatives, Yadav was a media-friendly old-school politician, who would stand by them even at the cost of inviting criticism from opponents. It was not a misplaced criticism, as at one point he had around seven family members in Parliament and Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

Interestingly, till late 1980s together with his political mentor Charan Singh, Yadav never lost an opportunity to criticise Indira Gandhi for promoting dynasty. But later on he became flexible and indulged in promoting his son Akhilesh Yadav and other members of his family in politics, as he formed his own Samajwadi Party in 1992.

From here on his brother Shivpal Singh Yadav became his shield, as he countered every conspiracy hatched against him by putting his life to save him. This the reason why Shivpal always remained his close political aide.

His friendship with Amar Singh and Bollywood connections were though not in sync with his socialist moorings, he successfully managed these contradictions and even flaunted the same at ‘Safai Mahotsav’ organised at his village, where a galaxy of film stars used to perform.  

Addressed as ‘Netaji’ by his followers, the SP patriarch has been a very popular figure in his pocket borough – Mainpuri-Etah-Etawa- where he was more perceived as an elderly figure, who could even scold them, rather than a mere vote-seeking politician.

People of his generation still recall how Yadav used to be seen riding a bicycle in Lucknow in the '80s. During those days he used to reach the newspaper offices in Lucknow.

Then he was known for his simplicity. But by the 1980s he began to be known as the leader of the Yadavs and during the 1990s he became a favourite of Muslims for being a formidable force in the state against the Ram Mandir movement and the RSS.

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