By Faisal Fareed,



History repeats itself, and often at the cusp of historic events. And the recent struggles of the Samajwadi Party are a testament to this statement. Mulayam Singh, the grand patriarch of UP politics, was a wrestler in his younger days and claims to have never lost a match. But in politics, no one is unbeatable, and Mulayam now lies floored by his son Akhilesh Yadav.

It is nothing new for Mulayam. The Yadav satrap, since his baptism, in politics always joined hands with leaders only to part later. Political experts started terming it as Charkha Daon—a tactic used by Mulayam, where the opponent wrestler bites the dust when he is confident of his victory and is unaware of any attack.

And this trait was visible since Mulayam’s journey in politics in 1967 when he contested from Jaswantnagar seat in Etawah, which was then held by his mentor in politics Nathu Singh. Today, family members of Nathu Singh have completely lost their political clout in UP politics.

Mulayam’s fortune changed in 1989 when Janata Dal got a majority in UP, ending Congress rule. In the battle of the post for the CM, Mulayam staked his claim while his opponent was Ajit Singh. Mulayam always claimed to be a successor to Choudhary Charan Singh, but he did not hesitate to contest against his son Ajit. At that time, VP Singh became Prime Minister but Mulayam kept him at bay in UP. After that in 1991, Ajit Singh parted ways with several MLAs to form his own group. It was appearing that Mulayam will lose his chair, but he rushed to New Delhi and solicited support from Rajiv Gandhi and saved his government. Then one fine day, Mulayam dissolved the assembly and went for polls, leaving Congress in a Catch 22 situation.

Now Mulayam did not have any party, so he stuck with Chandrashekhar and contested the polls with Samajwadi Janata Party in 1991. He lost the government and within a year he also parted ways with Chandrashekhar and formed his own party, the Samajwadi Party. Within few months, he was again in polls and this time his ally was Bahujan Samaj Party. The coalition worked and Mulayam again became CM. The bonhomie ended in 1995 with infamous Guest House incident and Mayawati parted ways and formed a government with BJP’s support. Later, in 2003 Mulayam again formed a government with Congress support.

By this time, it became a common saying in Hindi heartland that if Mulayam meets any political party, the party is bound to split. It happened with his closest ally communists in UP where he lured all its legislators in his party thus ending communist hold in UP.


After that Mulayam took so many U turns, that it has become difficult to keep track. Once he backed out at the last moment, thus sealing the fate of Sonia Gandhi after assuring her of support in becoming PM. In 2002, he took another U turn after roping in Mamata Banerjee to ensure the second tenure of presidentship for Dr A P J Kalam.

Most recently, he advocated forming of grand alliance and merger of six old socialist parties for Bihar polls in 2015 but again parted at the eleventh hour.

This time history repeated itself and Mulayam lost his post of national presidentship of SP to his son Akhilesh.