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'Netaji Was Krishna of Kaliyuga': Samajwadis Bid Teary-Eyed Farewell to Mulayam

The scenes at Mulayam Singh Yadav's funeral in Saifai on 11 October bear testimony to his Samajwadi politics.

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India
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"In my village, there is anant katha for Sri Mulayam Singh Yadav. It happens on the first Sunday of every month. People see him as a God. And the way we listen to stories of Ram and Krishna, people come to listen to the stories of Mulayam Singh Yadav ji," said Updesh Singh Yadav, one of the thousands of Samajwadis who had thronged Saifai on Tuesday, 11 October, to bid a final farewell to their beloved Netaji Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The scenes in Saifai on Tuesday were something the town had never seen before. Political heavyweights and SP supporters alike, all beelined to pay their last respects to Mulayam Singh Yadav, who passed away on Monday, 9 October, following age-related illnesses, at his ancestral town. His last rites were conducted by his son and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
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    People gather to pay tribute to the mortal remains of Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, at his native village Saifai in Etawah district, Tuesday, 11 October 2022.

    (Photo Courtesy: PTI)

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Speaker of the Lok Sabha Om Birla, businessman Anil Ambani, MP Jaya Bachchan and her son, actor Abhishek Bachchan, were some of the many prominent personalities that attended the funeral.

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'If He Met Someone, He Would Never Forget Their Name'

There would be times when, during his campaign rallies, Mulayam Singh Yadav would recognise his supporters from the stage and call them out by their names, asking them how they were doing. Many such incidents bear testimony to his Samajwadi (people-centred) politics.

"Mulayam ji came to my village on a cycle to ask for votes. He met every resident of that village. A very humble and grounded politician, that's why he was known as dharti putr (son of the soil)," says Ram Khiladi Yadav, a retired police officer.

Holding back tears, he said Mulayam Singh Yadav was the "Krishna of the Kaliyuga."

The scenes at Mulayam Singh Yadav's funeral in Saifai on 11 October bear testimony to his Samajwadi politics.

Ram Khiladi Yadav, a retired inspector, held back tears while talking about Mulayam Singh Yadav.

(Photo: Piyush Rai/The Quint)

When asked why people are so emotional about the veteran SP leader, Ram Khiladi Yadav explains that Mulayam Singh Yadav really cared about the masses. "If he met someone, he would never forget their name. His speciality was how close he was to the public," he said.

Gyan Prakash Mishra, who travelled from Sultanpur to Saifai, said that he met Mulayam Singh Yadav several times and that one of the veteran politician's greatest traits was how he would stay connected to everyone.

"He would meet and entertain even a small party worker like me. Once you met him, you would get devoted to him," he added.

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    People gather to pay tribute to the mortal remains of Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, at his native village Saifai in Etawah district, Tuesday, 11 October 2022.

    (Photo Courtesy: PTI)

Ashok Kumar Yadav, also from Sultanpur, fondly remembered how his daughter once attended an event by the Samajwadi Party Mahila Samaj on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

"Netaji once made my daughter sit next to him and tie him a rakhi. He even told her to pursue civil services and now she is studying for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam," he said with a smile, adding that "after Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, our Netaji has taken Indian politics to a whole new level."

"The village you are in at the moment, it is now an international village because of Mulayam Singh Yadav," he said.

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    Saifai: A huge crowd of Samajwadi Party workers and supporters during party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav's funeral procession, in Saifai, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022.

    (Photo Courtesy: PTI)

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Can Akhilesh Take Mulayam's Legacy Forward?

Asked whether Mulayam Singh Yadav's son, Akhilesh Yadav, can his father's legacy forward, Ram Khiladi Yadav said that the skills and capabilities that Mulayam Singh Yadav had, the same are instilled in Akhilesh Yadav. "I have full faith that he (Akhilesh) will fulfill his political duties for Uttar Pradesh and for India."

Ashok Kumar Yadav added that while Akhilesh has been struggling recently, he will soon bounce back as "there is no politician like him in the whole country."

"If you count the achievements of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna, you get the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita. Imagine if you count Mulayam Singh Yadav's achievements, how much of epic work could be documented. That's how big he was!" he added.

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