People throng to pay tributes to SP founder in Saifai
Mulayam Singh Yadav Funeral LIVE: 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 Monday after prolonged illness. He was 82.
The former defence minister was admitted to Gurugram’s Medanta Hospital in August and shifted to its Intensive Care Unit on 2 October.
“My respected father and ‘Netaji’ to all is no more,” his son Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi. Condolences poured in from across the political spectrum and Uttar Pradesh’s BJP government announced a three-day mourning.
Hours later, the body arrived in Safai, Yadav’s native village near Etawah in UP, and was kept in a “pandal” for people who thronged there for a darshan.
As Akhilesh Yadav broke down on receiving his father’s body, his uncle Shivpal Yadav often at loggerheads with him placed a hand on his shoulder.
Later, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and some other UP BJP leaders arrived to pay their respects.
The funeral will take place with full state honours in Safai on Tuesday afternoon.
The village falls in Jaswantnagar, the constituency from where he was elected to the state assembly the first time in 1967, representing Ram Manohar Lohia’s Sanyukt Socialist Party.
Born on November 22, 1939 into a farming family, Yadav was elected an MLA 10 times and an MP, mostly from Mainpuri and Azamgarh, seven times.
He was defence minister from 1996 to 1998 in HD Deve Gowda’s United Front government, and became chief minister thrice, in 1989-91, 1993-95, and 2003-07.
For decades, he enjoyed the stature of a national leader but Uttar Pradesh largely remained the akhara where Yadav played out his politics, beginning as a teenager influenced by socialist leader Lohia.
For party workers, even when he was no longer the SP president, the patriarch who famously trained as a wrestler in his younger days, remained Netaji, the leader. And his presence on the scene provided the glue that held the Yadav clan together, at least to a degree.
A socialist, Yadav was open to possibilities in politics. Thanks often to mergers and splits, he had been affiliated with a series of parties — Lohia’s Sanyukt Socialist Party, Charan Singh’s Bharatiya Kranti Dal, Bharatiya Lok Dal and Samajwadi Janata Party.