Mulayam Singh Yadav
Yadav in 2019
21st Minister of Defence
In office
1 June 1996 – 19 March 1998
Prime Minister
Preceded byPramod Mahajan
Succeeded byGeorge Fernandes
15th Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
In office
29 August 2003 – 13 May 2007
Preceded byMayawati
Succeeded byMayawati
In office
5 December 1993 – 3 June 1995
Preceded byPresident's rule
Succeeded byMayawati
In office
5 December 1989 – 24 June 1991
Preceded byN. D. Tiwari
Succeeded byKalyan Singh
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
23 May 2019 – 10 October 2022
Preceded byTej Pratap Singh Yadav
Succeeded byDimple Yadav
ConstituencyMainpuri, Uttar Pradesh
In office
16 May 2014 – 23 May 2019
Preceded byRamakant Yadav
Succeeded byAkhilesh Yadav
ConstituencyAzamgarh, Uttar Pradesh
In office
16 May 2009 – 16 May 2014
Preceded byDharmendra Yadav
Succeeded byTej Pratap Singh Yadav
ConstituencyMainpuri, Uttar Pradesh
In office
Preceded byD. P. Yadav
Succeeded byRam Gopal Yadav
ConstituencySambhal, Uttar Pradesh
In office
Preceded byUday Pratap Singh
Succeeded byBalram Singh Yadav
ConstituencyMainpuri, Uttar Pradesh
President of the Samajwadi Party
In office
3 October 1992 – 1 January 2017
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byAkhilesh Yadav
Guidance Leader - Samajwadi Party
In office
1 January 2017 – 10 October 2022
Preceded bypost established
Succeeded bypost abolished
Personal details
Born(1939-11-22)22 November 1939
Saifai, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India
(present-day Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died10 October 2022(2022-10-10) (aged 82)
Gurugram, Haryana, India
Political partySamajwadi Party (1992–2022)
Other political
  • Malati Devi
    (m. 1957; died 2003)
  • Sadhana Gupta
    (m. 2003; died 2022)
Children1 (Akhilesh Yadav)[2]
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater
Awards Padma Vibhushan (2023) (posthumous)

Mulayam Singh Yadav (22 November 1939 – 10 October 2022) was an Indian politician, a socialist figure and founder of the Samajwadi Party. Over the course of his political career spanning more than six decades, he served for three terms as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and also as the Union Minister of Defence in the Government of India. A long-time parliamentarian, he was a seven-time Member of Parliament representing Mainpuri, Azamgarh, Sambhal and Kannauj constituencies in the Lok Sabha, a ten-time member of the Legislative Assembly, member of the Legislative Council and the Leader of Opposition for several times as well. The veteran politician was a prominent figure of his time in Indian Politics, and was often referred to as Netaji (meaning respected leader in Hindi) and Dhartiputra (son of mother earth) by party leaders and workers.[3][4] In 2023, the socialist leader was posthumously conferred with Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award by the Government of India.[5]

Early life and education

Mulayam Singh Yadav was born to Murti Devi and Sughar Singh Yadav on 22 November 1939 in Saifai village, Etawah district, Uttar Pradesh, India.[6] Akhilesh Yadav is his only son from his first marriage to Malti Devi.[7]

Yadav earned three degrees in political science — a B.A. from Karm Kshetra Post Graduate College in Etawah, a B.T. from A. K. College in Shikohabad, and an M.A. from B. R. College, Agra University.[6]

Teaching career

Before joining politics, Yadav was engaged in teaching profession. In 1963, he was a schoolmaster[8] at Jain Inter-College in Karhal, Mainpuri. In 1974, he was promoted to a lecturer after attaining his master's degree.[9][10]

Political career

Groomed by leaders such as Ram Manohar Lohia, Raj Narain, Anantram Jaiswal and Chandra Shekhar, Yadav was first elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh in 1967 from Jaswantnagar on a Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP) ticket the party founded by Anantram Jaiswal & George Fernandes.[11] In 1975, during Indira Gandhi's imposition of the Emergency, Yadav was arrested and kept in custody for 19 months.[12]

He first became a state minister in 1977. Later, in 1980, he became the president of the Lok Dal (People's Party) in Uttar Pradesh, which became a part of the Janata Dal (People's Party) afterwards. In 1982, he was elected leader of the opposition in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council and held that post until 1985. When the Lok Dal party split, Yadav launched the Krantikari Morcha party.[13]

Chief Minister

First term

Yadav first became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1989.[14]

In 1990, a large body of Sangh Parivar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad supporters reached Ayodhya and attempted to attack the 16th-century Babri mosque. They organized a march towards the mosque in an attempt to reclaim the land for a grand temple for Hindu god Rama. This resulted in a pitched battle with the paramilitary forces. In a bid for crowd control, firing by the police with live rounds was ordered by Yadav. At least 50 religious volunteers, or kar sevaks people were killed.[15][16][17][18][19] Muslims in Uttar Pradesh credited Yadav for saving the mosque in 1990 and became the major voting bloc of Samajwadi Party.[citation needed]

The BJP withdrew its support to the V. P. Singh ministry, necessitating fresh elections. The BJP substantially increased its tally in the union parliament, as well as winning a majority in the Uttar Pradesh assembly.[20]

After the collapse of the Union government led by V. P. Singh in November 1990, Yadav joined Chandra Shekhar's Janata Dal (Socialist) party and continued in office as chief minister with the support of the Indian National Congress (INC). His government fell when the INC withdrew its support in April 1991 in the aftermath of developments at the national level where it had earlier withdrawn its support for Chandra Shekhar's government. Mid-term elections to Uttar Pradesh assembly were held in mid-1991, in which Mulayam Singh's party lost power to the BJP.[21]

Second term

In 1992, Yadav founded his own Samajwadi Party (Socialist Party). In 1992, Hindu right wing mob was involved in the demolition of the Babri Mosque, which caused violence across India.[22] In 1993, he allied with the Bahujan Samaj Party for the elections to the Uttar Pradesh assembly due to be held in November 1993.[23] The alliance between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party prevented the return of BJP to power in the state.

In 1993, Yadav became the Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the second time.[22] Yadav became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh with the support of CongressJanata Dal. His stand on the movement for demanding separate statehood for Uttarakhand was as controversial as his stand on the Ayodhya movement in 1990 was. There was a firing on Uttarakhand activists at Muzaffarnagar on 2 October 1994, something for which Uttarakhand activists held him responsible. He continued holding that post until his ally opted into another alliance in June 1995.[24]

Third term

In 2002, following a fluid post-election situation in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Bahujan Samaj Party joined to form a government under Dalit leader Mayawati, who was considered to be Yadav's greatest political rival in the state.[25] The BJP pulled out of the government on 25 August 2003, and enough rebel legislators of the Bahujan Samaj Party left to allow Yadav to become the Chief Minister, with the support of independents and small parties.[26] He was sworn in as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the third time in September 2003.[6][26]

Yadav was still a member of the Lok Sabha when he was sworn in as chief minister. In order to meet the constitutional requirement of becoming a member of state legislature within six months of being sworn in, he contested the assembly by-election from Gunnaur assembly seat in January 2004. Yadav won by a record margin of 1,83,899 votes, polling 91.45 per cent of the votes.[27]

With the hope of playing a major role at the centre, Yadav contested the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Mainpuri while still Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. He won the seat and his Samajwadi Party won more seats in Uttar Pradesh than all other parties. However, the Congress party, which formed the coalition government at the centre after the elections, had the majority in the Lok Sabha with the support of the Communist parties.[28] As a result, Yadav could not play any significant role at the centre. Yadav resigned from the Lok Sabha and chose to continue as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh until the 2007 elections, when he lost to the BSP.[29]

Union Politics, Defence Minister and Member of Parliament

He was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly ten times and to the Parliament of India, Lok Sabha seven times.[30]

Minister of Defence for India

In 1996, Yadav was elected to the eleventh Lok Sabha from Mainpuri constituency.[6] In the United Front coalition government formed that year, his party joined and he was named India's Defence Minister in the Deve Gowda ministry. That government fell in 1998 as India went in for fresh elections, but he returned to the Lok Sabha that year from Sambhal parliamentary constituency.[31] After the fall of Atal Bihari Vajpayee union government in April 1999, he did not support the Congress party in the formation of the union government.[32]

Second term, 1999 General election

He contested the Lok Sabha general elections of 1999 from two seats, Sambhal Lok Sabha constituency and Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency, and won both seats. He resigned from the Kannauj seat for his son Akhilesh in the by-elections.[33][31]

Sixth term, 2014 General election

He was elected in the 2014 Indian general election. He became a MP in the 16th Lok Sabha from Azamgarh and Mainpuri.[31] The competing party BJP did not field a strong candidate in the election from Mainpuri.[34] In June 2014 he resigned from Mainpuri seat and continued to represent Azamgarh in Parliament.[35]

In May 2017, two Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies were mutilated by Pakistan's Border Action Team. When Yadav, who had served as the Defence Minister in past, was asked by journalists to comment on the attacks, he responded by saying "Defence Minister (Arun Jaitley) is weak and coward can never take on enemies. I have one question for the union government and the minister concerned: why are you not able to muster courage to show the enemy their place." He also said that during his term as defence minister in the Deve Gowda ministry, he had ordered the Indian Army to cross into Pakistan in response to attacks.[36]

Seventh term, 2019 General election

He was re-elected in the 2019 Indian general election from Mainpuri for a fifth time. This was his fourth consecutive victory from the same constituency.[37][31] He died in 2022, two years before the end of his term.[38]

Samajwadi Party

In 1992, Yadav founded his own Samajwadi Party (Socialist Party). Muslims make a sizeable minority in the Uttar Pradesh state. Samajwadi Party and Yadav emerged as the advocates for Muslims.[22]

Since Akhilesh Yadav became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 2012, surpassing Mulayam's brother Shivpal Singh Yadav, the Yadav family was divided into two feuding groups. One of the groups, led by Akhilesh, enjoyed the support of his father's cousin and National General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav. The rival group was led by Mulayam Singh and supported by his brother and State Chief of Party, Shivpal Yadav, and a friend, former MP Amar Singh. Akhilesh had fired his uncle twice from his cabinet as it was seen by many as a direct challenge to his father, who has steadily supported Shivpal over Akhilesh.[39] On 30 December 2016, Mulayam Yadav expelled his son Akhilesh and his cousin Ram Gopal from the party for six years on the grounds of indiscipline, only to revoke the decision 24 hours later. Akhilesh, in response, stripped his father of the party presidency and instead named him the chief patron of the party following the national convention of the party on 1 January 2017. Mulayam termed the national convention illegal and directly expelled his cousin, Ram Gopal Yadav, who had convened the national executive convention. But the Election commission of India ruled that Ram Gopal Yadav had the right to convene that executive convention, and reversed Mulayam's order. Hence Akhilesh Yadav officially became the new national leader of the party.[40]

Positions held

Mulayam Singh Yadav had been elected 10 times as MLA and 7 times as Lok Sabha MP.[31][41][42][30]

# From To Position Party
1. 1967 1969 MLA (1st term) from Jaswantnagar in 4th Vidhan Sabha Samyukta Socialist Party
2. 1974 1977 MLA (2nd term) from Jaswantnagar Bharatiya Kranti Dal
3. 1977 1980 MLA (3rd term) from Jaswantnagar Bharatiya Lok Dal
4. 1982 1985 MLC (1st term) in Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council Lok Dal
5. 1985 1989 MLA (4th term) from Jaswantnagar Lok Dal
6. 1989 1991 * MLA (5th term) from Jaswantnagar
* Chief Minister (1st term) in Government of UP
Janata Dal
7. 1991 1993 MLA (6th term) from Jaswantnagar, Nidhauli Kalan and Tilhar (by-boll) Janata Party
8. 1993 1996 * MLA (7th term) from Jaswantnagar and Shikohabad
* Chief Minister (2nd term) in Government of UP (1993–1995)
Samajwadi Party
9. 1996 1996 MLA (8th term) from Sahaswan (resigned in 1996) Samajwadi Party
10. 1996 1998 * MP (1st term) in 11th Lok Sabha from Mainpuri
* Minister of Defence in Government of India
Samajwadi Party
11. 1998 1999 MP (2nd term) in 12th Lok Sabha from Sambhal Samajwadi Party
12. 1999 2004 MP (3rd term) in 13th Lok Sabha from Sambhal and Kannauj (resigned from Kannauj in 2000) Samajwadi Party
13. 2003 2007 * Chief Minister (3rd term) in Government of UP
* MLA (9th term) from Gunnaur by-poll (2004–2007)
Samajwadi Party
14. 2004 2004 MP (4th term) in 14th Lok Sabha from Mainpuri (resigned in 2004) Samajwadi Party
15. 2007 2009 MLA (10th term) from Gunnaur and Bharthana (resigned in 2009) Samajwadi Party
16. 2009 2014 MP (5th term) in 15th Lok Sabha from Mainpuri Samajwadi Party
17. 2014 2019 MP (6th term) in 16th Lok Sabha from Azamgarh and Mainpuri (resigned from Mainpuri in 2014) Samajwadi Party
18. 2019 2022 MP (7th term) in 17th Lok Sabha from Mainpuri (died in 2022) Samajwadi Party

Political positions


He followed Socialism. In the 1980s the Union Government of India had appointed Mandal Commission, a federal commission to identify the "socially backward classes" in India. The appointment led to protests across the country. During these protests Yadav defended the demands of the backward castes and religious minorities. Through these protests Yadav emerged as a socialist leader.[43]

Support for a sovereign independent Tibet

Yadav said it is necessary for India to support a sovereign and independent Tibet. He said that a past government had made a "big mistake" on the issue and noted that he had spoken against it at the time.[44] He believed that Tibet was a traditional buffer between China and India[45] and that India should support the Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence.[46] Claiming that China had secreted nuclear weapons in Pakistan, he cautioned that "China is our enemy, not Pakistan. Pakistan can do us no damage".[47]


Comment on rape

The crime of rape became a capital offence in India following the 2012 Delhi gang rape incident; Yadav had opposed changing this law. Following the trial in the Shakti Mills gang rape, on 10 April 2014, in an election rally, Yadav said, "When boys and girls have differences, the girl gives a statement that 'the boy raped me,' and that poor boy gets a death sentence."[48] Referring to the Mumbai gang rape he stated, "... later they had differences, and the girl went and gave a statement that I have been raped. And then the poor fellows, three of them have been sentenced to death. Should rape cases lead to hanging? Boys are boys, they make mistakes. Two or three have been given the death sentence in Mumbai."[49] Following this, complaints were filed against Yadav with the Election Commission and the National Commission for Women (NCW).[49] His comments were denounced by the Indian media,[48] women's groups, women's rights activists,[50][51] public prosecutor in the Shakti Mills gang rape case Ujjwal Nikam,[52] Bollywood celebrities.[53][54]

In response to 2014 Badaun gang rape and Yadav's comments, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "We say no to the dismissive, destructive attitude of, 'Boys will be boys'".[55] On 19 August 2015, Yadav remarked that gang-rapes are impractical and rape-victims in those cases tend to lie.[56] He was summoned by the Judicial Magistrate of Mahoba district court in Uttar Pradesh for that remark.[57]

Phone Threat case

On 10 July 2015, ex Indian Police Service officer and President Adhikar Sena, Amitabh Thakur allegedly got a phone call from Yadav. Thakur alleged that Yadav had threatened him over the phone call. He released the audio of the phone call, in which Yadav is allegedly heard saying certain sentences, which Thakur called as being threatening in nature. Thakur alleged that Mulayam Singh was unhappy about the complaint lodged by his wife activist and advocate Nutan Thakur against the then state mining minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati.[58][59][60][61]

On 11 July 2015, Thakur presented a complaint before Hazratganj police station for registration of FIR against Yadav as regards the alleged phone threat, which the Police refused to register. On the contrary, in the same night of 11 July, a rape case was registered against Thakur by the Lucknow police at Gomtinagar police station, which raised political storm. Later FIR was registered in this case on Court intervention, which the Police closed but Thakur went on pursuing it before Court. The matter remained inconclusive till the end.[62][63][64]

Personal life and death

Yadav was married twice. His first wife, Malti Devi, was in a vegetative state from 1974 until her death in May 2003 following complications while giving birth to their only child, Akhilesh Yadav. Akhilesh was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012 to 2017.[7][65]

Mulayam had a relationship with Sadhana Gupta while still married to Malti Devi in the 1990s.[66][67] Gupta was not well known until February 2007, when the relationship was admitted in India's Supreme Court.[68] Sadhana Gupta had a son named Prateek Yadav (born 1988), from her first marriage[69] to Chandra Prakash Gupta.[70] Sadhana Gupta died in July 2022 after a brief illness.[71]

Family tree

See also: Political families of Uttar Pradesh

Mulayam Singh Yadav had four brothers and a sister, Kamla Devi. Ram Gopal Yadav and his sister Geeta Devi are his cousins. The family tree of Yadav family is as follows:[72][73]

Family tree of Mulayam Singh Yadav
Mewa Ram Yadav
(grand father)
Murti Devi
Sughar Singh Yadav
Bachchi Lal Yadav
Ratan Singh Yadav
(elder brother)
Mulayam Singh YadavAbhay Ram Yadav
(younger brother)
Rajpal Singh Yadav
(younger brother)
Shivpal Singh Yadav
(youngest brother)
Kamla Devi
Ram Gopal Yadav
Geeta Devi
Ranvir Singh Yadav
Akhilesh Yadav
Dharmendra Yadav
Akshay YadavArvind Pratap
Tej Pratap Singh Yadav
(grand nephew)


In September 2022, Yadav was admitted to hospital and put on a ventilator after his condition deteriorated. He had been hospitalized for a month.[22] Yadav died on 10 October 2022 at age 82 in a hospital in Gurgaon.[38][74] His last rites were performed with full state honours at his hometown Saifai.[75][76]

In popular culture

Main Mulayam Singh Yadav, an Indian Hindi-language biographical film by Suvendu Raj Ghosh based on his life, was released in 2021; with Amyth Sethi playing the title role.[77]

Electoral performance

This section is transcluded from Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency. (edit | history)

1996 Indian general election: Mainpuri[31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 273,303 42.77
BJP Updesh Singh Chauhan 2,21,345 34.64
BSP Bhagwat Das Shakya 1,02,785 16.08
INC Kishan Chand 14,993 2.35
Independent Shiv Raj 4,509 0.71
Majority 51,958 8.13
Turnout 6,39,072 58.33
SP gain from JP Swing
2004 Indian general elections: Mainpuri[31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 460,470 63.96
BSP Ashok Shakya 1,22,600 17.03
BJP Balram Singh Yadav 1,11,153 15.44
INC Thakur Rajendra Singh Jadon 9,896 1.37 -7.86
Majority 3,37,870 46.93
Turnout 7,19,918 59.45
SP hold Swing

This section is transcluded from Gunnaur Assembly constituency. (edit | history)

Uttar Pradesh Assembly by election, 2004:Gunnaur [27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 195,213 91.45
BSP Arif Ali 11,314
BJP Gulfam Singh Yadav 6,941
Majority 1,83,899
SP gain from JD (U) Swing
Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, 2007:Gunnaur [78]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 54,696
BSP Arif Ali 23,049
JD (U) Bhoopendra Singh 7,550
INC Piyush Ranjan Yadav 2,940
Majority 31647 35.04
Turnout 90311 35.57
Registered electors 253,894
SP hold

This section is transcluded from Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency. (edit | history)

2009 Indian general elections: Mainpuri[31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 392,308 56.44 −7.00
BSP Vinay Shakya 2,19,239 31.54 +14.51
BJP Tripti Shakya 56,265 8.10 –7.34
Independent Sachchida Nand 7,756 1.12
CPI Hakim Singh Yadav 4,168 0.60
Majority 1,73,069 24.90
Turnout 6,95,032 49.67
SP hold Swing

This section is transcluded from Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency. (edit | history)

2014 Indian general elections: Azamgarh[31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 3,40,306 35.43 +17.86
BJP Ramakant Yadav 2,77,102 28.85 -6.28
BSP Shah Alam (Guddu Jamali) 2,66,528 27.75 -0.43
INC Arvind Kumar Jaiswal 17,950 1.87 -2.55
RUC Aamir Rashadi Madni 13,271 1.38 N/A
NOTA None of the Above 5,660 0.59 N/A
Margin of victory 63,204 6.58 -0.37
Turnout 9,60,600 56.40 +11.76
SP gain from BJP Swing +0.30

This section is transcluded from Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency. (edit | history)

2014 Indian general elections: Mainpuri[31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 595,918 59.63
BJP Shatrughan Singh Chauhan 2,31,252 23.14
BSP Dr. Sanghmitra Maurya 1,42,833 14.29
Independent Alok Nandan 5,645 0.56
AAP Baba Hardev Singh 5,323 0.55
NOTA None of the above 6,323 0.63
Majority 3,64,666 36.49
Turnout 9,99,427 60.46
SP hold Swing
2019 Indian general elections: Mainpuri[31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SP Mulayam Singh Yadav 524,926 53.75 -10.71
BJP Prem Singh Shakya 4,30,537 44.09 +11.30
IND. Savendra Singh 2,631 0.27 N/A
NOTA None of the Above 6,711 0.69 +0.03
Majority 94,389 9.66 -22.01
Turnout 9,78,261 56.77 -4.55
SP hold Swing -10.71


Akhilesh Yadav receiving Padma Vibhushan on the behalf of his late father in 2023

As Uttar Pradesh's Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav is credited for the establishment of legal and medical educational institutions like the Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, U.P. Rural Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (now known as Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences), Government Medical College, Azamgarh, Government Medical College, Kannauj etc. Even before becoming chief minister, in 1983 he established an degree college named Chaudhary Charan Singh Degree College (now known as Chaudhary Charan Singh Post Graduate College) in his legislative constituency with his personal efforts. As Uttar Pradesh's chief minister and central defence minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav was also credited for the establishment of Naini Saini Airstrip (now in Uttarakhand),[79] Chitrakoot Airstrip,[80] Mohammadabad Airstrip (of Farrukhabad district)[81] and Saifai Airstrip (of Etawah district).

One of his major celebrated and notable decisions during his tenure as the Cabinet Minister in the Union Government was the historic change in the armed forces law regarding disposition of bodies of fallen soldiers, ensuring that the mortal remains of martyrs reached home. Yadav as the Defence Minister introduced a landmark law for the bodies of the slain armed forces personnel to be brought back with full respects to the families at the home of the martyred and mandatory state honour funeral to be organised. It was also under his tenure that the backbone and the most advanced inventory fighter jet of the Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 MKI was finalised and acquired by the Indian Government.[82][83][84]


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Further reading

Mulayam Singh Yadav on Facebook

Party political offices Preceded byMulayam Singh Yadav Leader of the Samajwadi Party in the 16th Lok Sabha 2014–2022 Incumbent