Mulayam Singh Yadav death: Former three-time Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday died at the age of 82 in Gurugram. Popularly known as ‘Netaji’ and also fondly being called by his supporters as 'Dharti Putra' was a wrestler in his younger days who today lost the final bout; but in the book of politics, his name will always be relevant. His death triggered a flood of mourning messages from President Droupadi Murmu to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to other dignitaries and his lakhs of supporters.
"Mulayam Singh Yadav Ji distinguished himself in UP and national politics. He was a key soldier for democracy during the Emergency. As Defence Minister, he worked for a stronger India. His Parliamentary interventions were insightful and emphasised on furthering national interest," PM Narendra Modi tweeted.
Politics & Wrestling
His death is an end of a political era that summed up decisive turning points of Uttar Pradesh’s politics. Mulayam Singh Yadav was the political axis in UP during 1990s. Yadav was a teacher and a part-time wrestler when he decided to enter in political ring. Like a true athlete, in politics too, he never compromised and played with high spirit. Yadav, who took part in student union agitations first became first time an MLA in 1967.
The story goes that Nathu Singh, the Socialist Party MLA from Jaswantnagar, wanted him to fight for the seat in the next election. Singh was impressed with Yadav after meeting him at a wrestling contest. Interestingly, the wrestling mat took him to political wrestling.
During his second term as MLA from the same constituency, Indira Gandhi declared Emergency and Yadav was sent to jail, like many Opposition leaders. Back in the ring after the 1975-77 Emergency, Yadav became the state president of the Lok Dal. When the party split, he headed one faction of the state unit.
Yadav was a leader of the Opposition in the UP Legislative Council and then in the state assembly, before becoming the chief minister in 1989 with the BJP extending outside support to his Janata Dal government.
1990s & Mulayam Singh Yadav
The 1990s was the most significant as well as challenging decade in Yadav’s political career. In the early 90s, he resisted vehement ‘Kamandal’ politics (BJP-led Ayodhya Ram Mandir Movement that led to the demolition of Babri Mosque) during his two stints as CM from December 1989 to June 1991 and from December 1993 to June 1995. The infamous shootout at ‘Karsevaks’ (Saint) created a huge political tide against him but somehow he arrested the wave blew out against him. His MY-equation (Muslim-Yadav) made him formidable in UP. His arch-rival BSP chief Mayawati emerged during his active years. The 1990s saw a bitter and tense rivalry between the two. During his early years as CM, Yadav faced a tough challenge from the very popular duo Atal Bihar Vajpayee-Lal Krishna Advani. The duo posed serious problems with their ‘Ram Rath Yatra’ organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other right-wingers aiming to gather support to build Ram temple in Ayodhya in October 1990.
Yadav took tough measures to ensure law and order in the states. Thousands of BJP supporters participating in the Rath Yatra were arrested and many were shot dead in police firing.
During the same period of time, VP Singh-led Central government decided to implement some of the recommendations of the Mandal commission (27% reserved for people from lower castes. Yadav supported the move and successfully braved the anti-reservation agitations. The politics around it was called ‘Mandal-Kamandal politics’. Yadav with his political prudence mastered all these issues.
The stature of his political success can be understood with the fact, he had no political background and he formed his own party- Samajwadi Party in 1992 and soon became the tallest politician in the state and won the crown of CM in the state. His contemporary rivals were all-time political champions like Advani, Vajpayee, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh, and Kalyan Singh. He had a very good grip over Delhi as well. During the third front government, he held the office of Defence Minister.
During the last part of his political career, Singh launched his son Akhilesh Yadav into politics successfully and passed the baton to him. As result, Akhilesh Yadav became CM ( March 2012 – March 2017) riding the popularity of his father. Yadav carried forward the legacy of socialism received from his political gurus- Rammanohar Lohia and Jaya Prakash Narayan during his political inning. His legacy of socialism has been carried out by his son Akhilesh as well.