An Everlasting Legacy : The Dominant Politics of Mulayam Singh Yadav

The 82-year-old, OBC Stalwart and Three times CM of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav died on Monday, 10th of October, 2022 in Gurugram’s Medanta Hospital. His demise was mourned nationwide and rich tributes were paid in from across the political spectrum.

Mulayam Singh Yadav kick-started his career when OBCs were gaining political clout after the 1970s and the Congress was slowly being sidelined. That time, he rose to power in UP Politics and had a strong grip on it ever since.

Netaji being a former wrestler saw politics as an akhada and wrestled his way into UP’s Caste-driven politics. Here’s how he dominated it.

Wrestler to Politician

Popularly called ‘Netaji’ by his supporters, Samajwadi Party’s founder, Mulayam Singh Yadav was born on November 22, 1939, in Etawah and had a BEd and a master’s degree in Political Science. He was a wrestler-turned-teacher who kick started his political career in 1967 as a Samyukt Socialist Party Candidate and became an MLA for the first time after winning Etawah’s Jaswant Nagar seat. However, in 1969 he lost to Congress’s Bishambhar Singh Yadav.

Mulayam Singh won the Jaswant Nagar’s seat after joining the Bharatiya Kranti Dal (BKD) ahead of the 1974 mid-term polls. In 1977, he won the Jaswant Nagar seat again on the Janata Party ticket. Netaji was a cooperative and animal husbandry minister in the late 1970s.

In the 1980 polls, Mulayam lost his seat to Balram Singh Yadav of Congress. However, he later shifted to the Lok Dal and was elected to the state Legislative Council as its candidate. He was elected on the Lok Dal’s ticket from Jaswant Nagar in the 1985 Assembly elections as well and became Leader of the Opposition.

Mulayam Singh was appointed as UP unit chief in 1989 after he joined Janata Dal led by VP Singh. He was elected from Jaswant Nagar on its ticket again. He took oath as the CM of Uttar Pradesh on December 5, 1989, which also marked the end of Congress’ rule in the state to date.

Founded Samajwadi Party

In 1992, Mulayam Singh Yadav laid the foundations of his party, the Samajwadi Party (SP) which plays a lead role in UP Politics since then. In the wake of BJP’s Ram Janmbhoomi Temple Movement, he along with BSP managed to defeat BJP in UP’s assembly election, in 1993. He was sworn in as the Chief Minister of UP in 1993 for the second time. However, on June 3, 1995, Governor Motilal Vora dismissed the Mulayam government after he refused to resign.

Mulayam gets sworn in as the CM for the third time in 2003 after Mayawati resigned from CM’s position. Her resignation comes a year after the BSP and the BJP jointly formed their coalition government in the 2002 UP Assembly elections.

In the 2012 UP Assembly polls, after SP formed its government after winning a majority, Mulayam Singh Yadav transferred the leadership mantle to his son, Akhilesh Yadav who was sworn in as the CM of UP.

Other Political Presence

During the phase 1996-1998, Mulayam Singh Yadav was the Defence Minister in the United Front government led by HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral, later. He contested the lower house polls successfully too and gets elected as a Member of the Parliament seven times.

In the wake of the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1991 by the Kar Sewaks, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s popularity among the Muslims earned him the name ‘Maulana Mulayam’. The large political clan of Netaji was shaped by some powerful currents of his time- 1970s Lohiaite anti-

Congress, 1970s JP led resistance to the Emergency, 1980s Janata National Front coalitions, and 1990s Mandal and Masjid mobilization and BJP’s rise.

Mulayam Singh Yadav had a decades-long political career which lasted from his journey as CM to his role at the center.

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