Mulayam Singh Yadav passes away: How did Mulayam Singh Yadav miss out on becoming the Prime Minister twice?

Mulayam was born on 22 November 1939 in Saifai village of Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh to Murti Devi and Sugar Singh Yadav. Yadav had three degrees in Political Science – B.A. B.T. from Karmakshetra Post Graduate College, Etawah. A.K. of Shikohabad from college, and B.R. College, Agra University

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh Yadav passed away on 10 October. Yadav was undergoing treatment for several health problems. Yadav, also known as ‘Netaji’ among his followers and party workers, is survived by Akhilesh Yadav, who is currently the SP chief and also a former chief minister of UP.

In his decades-long political career, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh thrice – between 1989-91, again from 1993-95 and again in 2003-2007. But there were instances when he was close to becoming the Prime Minister of India – but narrowly escaped.

It is believed that the SP leader was ahead in the race for the PM’s chair in 1996, but could not become the Prime Minister due to the objections of Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and Sharad Yadav.

Congress had suffered a crushing defeat in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had 161 seats in its account. Atal Bihari Vajpayee accepted the invitation to form the government. Vajpayee was sworn in as prime minister, but his government fell in 13 days.

Now the question arose as to who would form the new government. The Congress had 141 seats in its bag, but it was in no mood to form a mish-mash coalition government.

All eyes were fixed on VP Singh. He formed a coalition government in 1989. However, this time he refused to become the Prime Minister and put forward the name of Jyoti Basu, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal. But the CPM Politburo rejected VP Singh’s proposal.

After this the names of Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav came up. Lalu was out of the race for PM after his name cropped up in the fodder scam. The task of forging the alliance was entrusted to Harkishan Singh Surjit, a veteran of the Left. In this he was successful.

Surjit advocated Mulayam’s name for the Prime Minister but Lalu Prasad Yadav and Sharad Yadav strongly opposed it. As a result, Netaji missed out on becoming the Prime Minister.

Elections were held again in 1999. Mulayam Singh won a double victory from Sambhal and Kannauj seats. His name came up again for the post of PM. But in the 1996 iteration, other Yadav leaders refused to support Mulayam.

In this way Mulayam Singh came close to occupying the prime minister’s chair twice, but lost due to coalition politics.