SP patriarch Moulayam Singh Yadav dies, tributes pour in across political spectrum
Samajwadi party founder and three-time Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who spawned the state’s most prominent political clan and played a key role on the national stage, died on Monday after a long illness . He was 82 years old.
The former defense minister was admitted to Medanta Hospital in Gurugram in August and moved to its intensive care unit on October 2.
“My respected father and ‘Netaji’ for all is no more,” his son Akhilesh Yadav said in a Hindi tweet. Condolences poured in from all political walks of life and the BJP government of Uttar Pradesh announced a three-day mourning.
Hours later, the body arrived in Safai, Yadav’s home village near Etawah in UP, and was kept in a ‘pandal’ for people who flocked there for ‘darshan’.
As Akhilesh Yadav collapsed upon receiving his father’s body, his uncle Shivpal Yadav – often at odds with him – laid a hand on his shoulder.
Later, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other UP BJP leaders arrived to pay their respects.
The funeral will be held with full state honors in Safai on Thursday afternoon.
The village is part of Jaswantnagar, the constituency from which he was first elected to the state assembly in 1967, representing Ram Manohar Lohia’s Sanyukt Socialist Party.
In her message, President Draupadi Murmu said Yadav’s achievements were extraordinary.
”’Dharti Putra’ Mulayam ji was a veteran leader and was bound to the land. He was respected by people from all parties,” she tweeted in Hindi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Yadav served people diligently and devoted his life to popularizing the ideals of Jayaprakash Narayan and Lohia.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, whose Bharat Jodo Yatra now runs through Karnataka, led a five-minute prayer meeting for Yadav.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Gurugram Hospital to meet Akhilesh Yadav and other members of his family. Congress leader Rajiv Shukla and JD(U)’s KC Tyagi also visited the hospital.
Born on November 22, 1939 to a farming family, Yadav was elected MP 10 times and MP, mainly for Mainpuri and Azamgarh, seven times.
He was Minister of Defense from 1996 to 1998 in the United Front government of HD Deve Gowda, and became Chief Minister three times, in 1989-91, 1993-95 and 2003-07.
For decades he enjoyed the stature of a national leader, but Uttar Pradesh remained largely the “akhara” where Yadav pursued his politics, starting as a teenager influenced by socialist leader Lohia.
For party workers, even when he was no longer president of the PS, the patriarch who trained as a wrestler in his youth, remained “Netaji”, the leader. And his presence on the scene provided the glue that held the Yadav clan together, at least to some extent.
A “socialist,” Yadav was open to possibilities in politics. Often through mergers and splits, it had been affiliated with a series of parties – Lohia’s Socialist Sanyukt Party, Charan Singh’s Bharatiya Kranti Dal, Bharatiya Lok Dal and Samajwadi Janata Party.
He founded his own SP in 1992.
Yadav made deals with Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress whenever necessary to form or save the governments he led in Uttar Pradesh.
In 2019, Netaji caused a stir by praising Modi in parliament, wishing he would return as prime minister after the next election. This, while his party saw Modi’s BJP as its main rival in Uttar Pradesh. The remark puzzled analysts.
Just as another comment, in 2014 at a rally, sparked outrage when he spoke out against the death penalty for rapists, saying “boys make mistakes”. And then there was his advocacy of the idea that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should form a confederation.
During her second term as MP, Indira Gandhi declared an emergency and Yadav was sent to prison, like many opposition leaders.
Yadav served as Leader of the Opposition in the UP Legislative Council and then in the State Assembly, before becoming Chief Minister for the first time in 1989, with the BJP bringing outside support to his Janata Dal government. .
When the Saffron Party withdrew its support for the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue in 1990, Congress kept its government afloat for a few months. In November 1993, Yadav again led a government in Uttar Pradesh, supported by the BSP. It collapsed when the ally pulled the mat.
The SP leader then moved onto the national stage, being elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 from Mainpuri.
As opposition parties attempted to form a non-BJP alternative in Congress, Yadav briefly appeared to be in contention for prime minister, but ended up becoming defense minister. In 2003, he became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the third time after the collapse of a short-lived BSP-BJP coalition government.
The SP was again able to form the government of Uttar Pradesh in 2012. But senior Yadav stepped down so his son Akhilesh could become the youngest CM in the state at 38.
Feuds within the party and family led to a sort of coup by Akhilesh Yadav in 2017. In the last years of his life, the ailing patriarch played a less and less important role in the affairs of the party he had founded.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)