Mulayam had admirers across the political spectrum

The death of Samajwadi’s greatest leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav, 82, has left a big void in the politics of Uttar Pradesh where for the past five decades he has remained a formidable center of power despite many ups and lows he faced in his political career, writes Mudit Mathur

The death of Samajwadi’s greatest leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav, 82, has left a big void in the politics of Uttar Pradesh where for the past five decades he has remained a formidable center of power despite many ups and low. His social and political journey depicts his tireless grassroots struggle through which he succeeded in realizing the dream of his mentor and socialist ideologue, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, to root Congress out of the state. The Congress has not been able to revive since 1989 after the powerful emergence of Mulayam Singh Yadav in the state.

Born on November 22, 1939 to a farming family in Saifai near Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, Yadav was the leader of the state’s most prominent political clan. In his early political days, he was a close associate of farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh, who formed Bhartiya Kranti Dal in 1967 after resigning from Congress. At the age of 28, Mulayam Singh Yadav fought and won the Jaswant Nagar Assembly elections as the candidate of the Samyukta Socialist Party. Charan Singh became the chief minister with the help of socialist leaders Dr Lohia and Raj Narain. After that, Mulayam Singh continued to rise high and high.

He was elected MP 10 times and MP, mainly from Mainpuri and Azamgarh, seven times. He was also Minister of Defense (1996-98) and Chief Minister three times (1989-91, 1993-95 and 2003-07). And briefly, he even seemed to have a shot at the premiership. He was an important player in the national political scenario as a national leader, but UP remained his stronghold where Yadav played his politics well. Beginning in adolescence under the influence of socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. He started his career as a teacher in Karhal Mainpuri, but his political ambitions and aim to bring about change in the lives of the poor and oppressed motivated him to join active politics.

Mulayam Singh Yadav had good connections and the patronage of many Congress leaders of socialist background, but he had special respect for veteran leader Narayan Dutt Tiwari, who as chief minister gave him a security blanket. and encouraged him to help him in his politics. Tiwari was fed up with the work of his two ministers Bir Bahadur Singh and Balram Singh Yadav who joined hands to harass Moulayam supporters in the local political rivalry. Tiwari aided him most of the time as chief minister of the state.

Mulayam Singh Yadav had unique qualities in making friends. His political enemies also take refuge under his protection. His two political rivals, Balram Singh Yadav and Darshan Singh Yadav, later joined his Samajwadi party and became Members of Parliament.

Across the political spectrum, Mulayam Singh Yadav has pan-India recognition who witnessed a huge turnout of the masses and political leaders from all political parties at his funeral. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of his admirers and has remained on good terms with him.

With age-related ailments, Mulayam Singh Yadav scripted transferring all his powers to his only son Akhilesh Yadav despite internal skirmishes between family members and trusted elders like his younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav and Mohd Azam Khan.

The coronation of Akhilesh Yadav in 2012 as chief minister gave a clear message to his supporters that now Akhilesh will carry on his legacy. It would be interesting to see how skillfully Akhilesh can consolidate his supporters to remain a strong political force.

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