Mulayam Singh cremated at native village Saifai; thousands attend funeral
Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav was cremated on Tuesday at his native village Saifai in Uttar Pradesh. Top political leaders and thousands of his supporters gathered for the veteran politician's funeral at Saifai in UP's Etawah district. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister breathed his last at the age of 82 at a private hospital in Gurugram on Monday. Here's more.
Why does this story matter?
- Yadav was one of the finest politicians in India, with a career spanning over 50 years.
- He served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for three terms and even served as the Minister of Defence (1996-98) under prime ministers HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral.
- He passed away on Monday after a prolonged illness at the age of 82.
Senior politicians attended the funeral
Earlier on Tuesday, Yadav's mortal remains were taken to the cremation site on a truck decorated with flower garlands. His son Akhilesh Yadav and other family members were onboard the vehicle while a large crowd marched along on the village's road. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, and BJP leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi, among others, attended the funeral.
Watch: Sea of supporters gather for Yadav's last rites
We had a very strong relationship: Defence Minister
"We had a very strong relationship. Mulayam Singh Yadav was a big personality in Indian politics, it is a huge loss for the country," said Defence Minister Singh, speaking at the SP founder's funeral. "We all have come here to pay our tribute to him. PM Modi could not come here but he asked me to pay tribute on his behalf," he added.
Bachchan family reached Saifai to pay their last respects
#WATCH | Uttar Pradesh: Actor Abhishek Bachchan along with his mother and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan reaches the ancestral village Saifai to pay their last respects to former CM of UP, #MulayamSinghYadav pic.twitter.com/iok6ZFCuS4— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2022
Three-day state mourning in UP
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited Saifai to pay his last respects to Yadav on Monday evening, according to an official statement. He also offered floral tributes to the SP patriarch on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, and the Uttar Pradesh administration. Notably, Adiytanath on Monday also declared a three-day state mourning over the veteran politician's demise.
Yadav rose to prominence in 1980s
Yadav, who forayed into active politics in the 1960s, was first elected as an MLA in 1967, aged 28. A wrestler in his younger days, Yadav gradually rose to prominence in UP politics in the late 1980s when protests were blazing over the Mandal Commission to recognize educationally and socially backward classes, which ultimately ushered in the OBC reservations.
Yadav founded SP in 1992
Yadav—who was popular among underprivileged communities and Muslims—first became UP's CM in 1989. It was during his tenure that police opened fire on Kar Sevaks marching to Ayodhya in 1990, resulting in 16 deaths. He later founded the SP in 1992, propping up the Yadav-Muslim solidarity in north India, reported NDTV. He gradually withdrew from political activities as Akhilesh became the SP's new face.
Yadav came close to being enthroned as PM
Interestingly, Yadav came very close to becoming the prime minister in 1996, when he was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time. His name was floated for the PM post when the Union Front was about to form the Union government. However, the move was opposed by Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, reported Outlook, ending his chances of becoming the PM.