The mortal remains of former Union Minister Sharad Yadav, who passed away on Thursday, was brought to Bhopal on Saturday. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also present at the airport to receive the mortal remains of the Socialist leader.
The remains would be taken to Sharad Yadav’s ancestral village in Narmadapuram, Madhya Pradesh. “An outstanding leader, who could still have given a lot to this nation, left us. On the behalf of the people of Madhya Pradesh, I am here to offer him my last respects. May his soul rest in peace and may God give strength to his family, supporters and loved ones in this hour of grief,” CM Chouhan told mediapersons at Bhopal airport.
Yadav breathed his last on Thursday (January 12) at the Fortis Hospital in Gurugram where he was rushed after collapsing at his Delhi residence. Speaking to the mediapersons outside Sharad Yadav’s residence, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said, “He was a leader who went to every village and stood with people who had nothing. We have lost a great leader.”
In a political career spanning nearly five decades, Sharad Yadav served as a Union Minister, convenor of the National Democratic Alliance and the president of Janata Dal-United. He was a prominent leader from the socialist block in parallel with other socialist leaders like the late Mulayam Singh Yadav and George Fernandes.
Sharad Yadav’s political career was at its peak during the anti-Congress movement in the 1970s. It was his Lok Sabha bypoll win from Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur in 1974 as the Opposition candidate against the Congress, which boosted the political fight against then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
After the Emergency, he won again in 1977 and came to be counted among several leaders to have come out of the anti-Emergency movement. In 1979, Yadav became the national general secretary of the Lok Dal. Eight years later, in 1987, he was involved in the events that led to the founding of the Janata Dal (JD) in 1988, under the leadership of V.P. Singh. When Singh became prime minister of a short-lived coalition government (1989-90), Yadav was inducted into the cabinet as head of the Textiles and Food Processing Industries Ministry.
Sharad Yadav served as a minister in the VP Singh government in 1989, but his highpoint came after a decade in the late 1990s, when he was in the fray against former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in Madhepura, a parliamentary seat dominated by voters from the Yadav caste, and drubbed the latter which earned him a ministerial berth in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In 1997, he became the president of the Janata Dal. However, in 1999, a split happened in the party when he chose to make the Janata Dal a component of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government. A faction led by H.D. Deve Gowda strongly opposed that move and left the Janata Dal to form a new party that became known as Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S).
Yadav remained the head of his own faction, which took the name Janata Dal-United (JD-U). He served in the NDA cabinet as the minister of civil aviation, labour and consumer affairs, food, and public distribution. The JD(U) was reconstituted as a new party in 2003 after smaller parties merged with it.
In 2006, Yadav was elected party president. He was again elected to the Lok Sabha from Madhepura in 2009. But after the JD(U)’s defeat in the 2014 general elections, Sharad Yadav’s relations with Nitish Kumar saw a change. In the Bihar Assembly elections of 2017, when the JD(U) under Nitish Kumar realigned with the BJP (the two parties had been partners in the 2004 and 2009 general elections), Sharad Yadav refused to follow.
Yadav who had launched his own party Loktantrik Janata Dal, merged with Lalu Yadav’s outfit RJD in March 2020 which he said was the “first step towards a united Opposition”.