Mulayam Singh Yadav is a politician and founder of the Samajwadi Party, and serves as its Chairman. He was a wrestler, before a politician, who broke into politics by winning a Yadav-dominated assembly seat for the regional Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP) in 1967. Yadav was deeply influenced by the Socialist ideology of Ram Manohar Lohia, and he gave up wrestling to join the Socialist leader’s movements in the 1950s. The launch of the Samajwadi Party in 1992 saw the inception of the largest political dynasty of Uttar Pradesh.
Mulayam Singh Yadav served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for three non-consecutive terms. He first contested as a candidate fielded by the Janata Dal (Socialist), with the support of the Indian National Congress, and became the CM in 1989. He became CM in 1993, after his party formed an alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and served as CM in 2002 for a third time when the Samajwadi Party formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Yadav served as India’s Defence Minister for two years, between 1996 and 1998.
Being a member of a lower-caste, Mulayam Singh Yadav was a vocal supporter of SC/ST’s, minority communities and OBCs. He is fondly referred to as ‘Netaji’ by his supporters.
He has been a subject of controversy, being accused of engaging in nepotism and dynastic politics. However, he still remains one of the most important figure in Indian politics today.
Here are some of his achievements as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
I. Kanya Vidhya Dhan Yojana – Unemployment Dole
The Mulayam Singh government in Uttar Pradesh launched the ‘Kanya Vidhya Dhan Yojana‘ which was an unemployment dole and fiscal management scheme aimed at the unemployed youth in the state.
The Yadav government had earmarked a fund of Rs. 400 crores for the scheme under which each registered graduate unemployed was eligible to get an allowance of Rs. 500 per month.
The scheme was scrapped by the ensuing BSP government under Mayawati in 2007, but was brought back by his son, Akhilesh Yadav, in 2012. The Akhilesh Yadav government handed out cheques of Rs. 1000 to over 10,000 unemployed youth from various districts of the state under the Unemployment Allowance Scheme.
II. Incentives to Sugar Mills
The state of Uttar Pradesh is one of the largest producers of sugar in India.
In 2004, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s government launched a scheme that gave liberal incentives to sugar mills, for 5 to 10 years- for increased production in companies that invested and upwards of Rs. 350 crore or more, for the production of sugar in the state.
Among the incentives were the provision of capital subsidy, tax exemptions, the re-imbursement of; transport costs, stamp duty, registration charges and purchase taxes.
Big companies like Balrampur Chini Mills and Bajaj Hindustan rushed in, and were greatly benefited by the scheme. Bajaj Hindustan, whose entire sugar business is based in UP, saw a five-fold increase in its capacity.
III. Employment Generation – Strengthening Police Force
Mulayam Singh Yadav was known to facilitate the generation of employment through recruitment into Uttar Pradesh’s police force. He was responsible for the recruitment of over 16,000 men into the state police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).
On 3rd March 1995, the government announced that 3,000 more policemen would soon be recruited into the police force, and 4,000 would be recruited into the PAC.
V.S. Mathur, the then Director-General of police, described it as ‘a very progressive move’.
A ‘Shanti Suraksha Bal‘ was set up as a special police force to curb communal violence.
IV. Kalyan Durghatna Bima Yojana
In his second term as Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav introduced the Kalyan Durghatna Bima Yojana. This was a ‘Barn Accident Scheme’ aimed at providing insurance to farmers who suffered as a result of accidents and disasters resulting in the destruction of their farms.
Under this broad schemes, the waved surcharge for electricity lines, formation of private tube-wells, and pension schemes for farmers were also launched.
Under the Akhilesh Yadav government, this scheme was included in the Samajwadi Kisan Ayam Sarvhit Bima Yojana.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s tenure as Chief Minister is seen by many as large favouring the backward castes, SCs and STs and minority communities. His reign has largely been seen, by critics and rivals, as being on a caste-based vote basis.
Nevertheless, he remains one of the most influential political leaders to have come out of India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.