Mulayam Singh Yadav, The Leader Who Almost Became PM

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Mulayam Singh Yadav, The Leader Who Almost Became PM
Mulayam Singh Yadav, The Leader Who Almost Became PM

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh): For a long time, Mulayam Singh Yadav, a veteran politician who saw Uttar Pradesh go through many ups and downs during his five-decade-long career, remained synonymous with the politics of the state.

In fact, he was so well-versed in the politics of the most populous state of India that he was fondly called “Netaji” by his admirers as well as his detractors.

Born on November 22, 1939, in Saifai village of Etawah district, Mulayam Singh Yadav rose quickly in politics and became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh thrice; he also served in the Union Government once as the Defence Minister.

He was elected 10 times as MLA and 7 times as Lok Sabha MP. As long was his political career, a similar number of controversies surrounded it.

His was the story of a politician who almost became the Prime Minister of India.

In 1996, when the United Front was poised to form the government, Mulayam Singh’s name was floated to lead the alliance.

It was opposed by leaders, including Lalu Prasad Yadav. He again saw an opportunity in 2014 but the election results dampened the possibility forever. People close to him said that the Samajwadi patriarch nursed a grievance that he could not become the Prime Minister of India despite being the chief minister of the most-populous state three times.

His career began when he was elected an MLA in 1967 at the age of 28. he founded the Samajwadi Party on October 4, 1992, and soon turned it into a regional party based in Uttar Pradesh. His son Akhilesh Yadav took over the reins of the party later and is now its president.

In 1990, his supporters claim, Mulayam Singh was set to arrest LK Advani when the latter’s Rath Yatra entered Uttar Pradesh.

However, Lalu Prasad Yadav upstaged him by arresting the BJP patriarch in Samastipur.

Both Lalu and Mulayam emerged after the JP Movement of the veteran freedom fighter Jayaprakash Narayan in the 1970s and later built their careers as “socialist leaders”.

In 1975, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s government imposed the Emergency, Mulayam Singh was among the politicians who were arrested and imprisoned for 19 months. While he opposed Congress during the Emergency, he supported it in 2008 for the Indo-Us nuclear deal.

Often referred to as a politician whose ears were always close to the ground, Mulayam Singh’s career had been strewn with promises of building and breaking ties nonetheless.

He launched his career by openly siding with Chandra Shekhar against VP Singh. He then surprised everyone by forging an alliance with his party’s arch-rival BSP. But the path-breaking alliance soon broke up amid the “guesthouse incident”.

While Mulayam remained critical of the BJP’s Hindutva politics, he sided with the saffron party at times.

For example, Mulayam Singh Yadav surprised everyone by supporting BJP in 2002 in its bid to make APJ Abdul Kalam the President of India.

Last year, a photo of Mulayam Singh Yadav with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at a function had created a flutter in political circles.

Mulayam Singh passed away at the age of 82 at Gurugram’s Medanta Hospital today (October 10) due to age-related ailments.

He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital last Sunday after his health deteriorated. His wife, Sadhana Gupta, passed away in July this year following a lung infection.

Sadhana Gupta was Mulayam Singh Yadav’s second wife. His first wife Maalti Devi passed away in 2003. Maalti Devi was the mother of Akhilesh Yadav.

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