Mulayam Singh Yadav was the first of his family to enter politics. In his political career, the SP patriarch has served as party chief, Member of Parliament, CM of Uttar Pradesh and Union Minister of Defence
The ongoing Lok Sabha elections have seen many political leaders bringing their family members into the political arena. While many have entered the fray as contestants, others support their family members, strengthening dynastic politics in the country.
Amid this, the Samajwadi Party (SP) founded by Mulayam Singh Yadav is fighting its first elections after the division of the party.
Needless to say, the SP belonged to one of the largest and most influential political families in India as the clan has more than a dozen members in Uttar Pradesh politics. However, two years ago, the party divided into two sections following a family feud between Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal. In 2018, the latter separated from SP and formed his own party — Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia).
History of Samajwadi Party
The Samajwadi Party was formed in 1992 by Mulayam Singh Yadav after splitting of Janata Dal. The party fought 1993 UP Assembly elections in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The alliance won the polls and Mulayam Singh became the Chief Minister of the state.
Prominent Family Members
Mulayam Singh Yadav
Mulayam Singh Yadav was the first of his family to enter politics. In his political career, the SP patriarch has served as party chief, Member of Parliament, CM of Uttar Pradesh and Union Minister of Defence.
He was appointed as UP CM thrice from 1989 to 1991, 1993 to 1995 and 2003 to 2007 respectively and as the Union Defence Minister from 1996 to 1998 in the United Front government.
The entry of Mulayam Singh in politics opened the gate for his relatives who joined him later.
Shivpal Singh Yadav started his political stint with campaigning for brother Mulayam and eventually became the most prominent power centre in the SP. A state lawmaker, he held several top ministries. He was also appointed as state president and leader of the opposition in Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
In 2017, when the party was in power in UP, ideological differences cropped up between Shivpal and then CM Akhilesh. Following this, Shivpal separated from SP. On August 28, 2018, he formed the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia).
Ram Gopal Yadav
A cousin of Mulayam, Ram Gopal Yadav was the third to enter politics. A Rajya Sabha member and key strategist of SP, he is said to be among major forces behind Akhilesh’s appointment as the CM in 2012.
Ram Gopal is said to be close to Akhilesh. It was apparent during the family feud, as he supported Akhilesh over Shivpal.
His son Akshay Yadav is the MP from Firozabad.
Elder son of Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh Yadav began his political journey after finishing his studies from Australia. In 2000, he was elected as MP from Kannauj at the age of 27.
In 2009, Akhilesh won from Firozabad and Kannauj Lok Sabha seats and left the former seat, for his wife Dimple Yadav.
Mulayam’s daughter-in-law, Dimple Yadav began her career with a stumble when she lost her Lok Sabha bypoll in 2009 from Firozabad. Later, she won the Kannauj Lok Sabha bypoll in 2012 and the Lok Sabha elections from the same seat in 2014.
Wife of Prateek Yadav — Mulayam’s son from second wife Sadhana — Aparna Yadav has also joined SP. She contested from Lucknow Cantt constituency in 2017 UP Assembly Elections and defeated by BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
In 2004, son of Mulayam's brother Abhay Ram Singh, Dharmendra Yadav entered politics by winning Budaun Lok Sabha seat and representing the constituency since then.
Tej Pratap Singh Yadav
Mulayam’s grandnephew and his brother late Ratan Singh’s grandson Tej Pratap Singh Yadav. He was elected as MP from Mainpuri constituency in 2014 UP Assembly elections.
2014 Lok Sabha elections
The 2014 Lok Sabha elections proved a nightmare for SP as it reduced its tally from 23 to five parliamentary constituencies - all won by leaders of Mulayam's family.
Following 2014 general elections, the rift in the family increased and was on public display in 2016. Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal openly expressed difference of opinion in a public meeting.
What followed was intense family drama. Later in 2016, Mulayam expelled his son Akhilesh and his cousin Ram Gopal from the party for six years on grounds of indiscipline, only to revoke the decision 24 hours later.
The fight went ahead and eventually Akhilesh, through an emergency convention of the party, took over as its national president on January 1, 2017.
After taking over the party reins, the first thing Akhilesh did was to ally with the Congress for the 2017 Assembly polls. The idea did not work and the alliance was defeated by the BJP.
Following the polls, the political dynasty of SP broke witnessed a split.
2019 Lok Sabha polls
In the first election since the split, two members of Mulayam’s family will contest against each other. Former SP leader Shivpal Yadav has announced to contest polls from Firozabad against sitting MP and nephew Akshay Yadav.For the latest news and live updates, follow our LIVE blog
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