Last week, Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav made an emotional appeal to the people of Mainpuri, his constituency, to vote him to power since this would be his last election. Yadav has been elected to this seat four times. This time, he is contesting against BJP’s Prem Singh Shakya. In 2014, Yadav contested from both Mainpuri and Azamgarh. He vacated the Mainpuri seat for Tej Pratap Singh Yadav.
Yadav, a trenchant critic of Narendra Modi’s Hindutva politics, has buried the hatchet with his arch-rival, BSP’s Mayawati, in a bid to keep the BJP from repeating its 2014 performance in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati and Yadav had fallen out over the ‘guesthouse scandal’ in Lucknow in 1995, when she withdrew support to Yadav’s government, making it fall.
Yadav is a seasoned politician who was first elected as an MLA in the UP Assembly in 1967. He has been the chief minister of the state three times. He forayed into politics at the age of 15 and was inspired by socialist politician Ram Manohar Lohia. Yadav has also served as the defence minister in HD Deve Gowda’s cabinet.
One of the decisions he is best known for is his order to open fire on kar sevaks marching towards Ayodhya in 1990.