Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav today filed his nomination from his family bastion Mainpuri, which has returned him to the Lok Sabha four times. He was accompanied by son Akhilesh Yadav in a show of solidarity even though the two have not been on best of terms since a power struggle over the party's control two years ago ripped the family apart.
Since the disagreement, which occupied headlines for weeks in 2016, the Yadav Senior had kept a low profile. But he still managed to send signals of political divergence with his son - one of the key members of the opposition alliance against the BJP - through public messages of approval for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Last month, in a shocking departure from the opposition stance, he said he "prayed" for PM Modi's return to power. That the message was delivered from the floor of the Lok Sabha during its last sitting ahead of the general elections had added to the stir.
The 79-year-old gets much of his resilience from the hard packed earth of wrestling "akhadas" of rural Uttar Pradesh where he spent much of his youth. His entry into politics was at the age of 15.
Deeply influenced by socialist ideals of Ram Manohar Lohia, he went on to become an six-time member of Lok Sabha, Chief Minister of the country's most populous state for three times and even had a spell in the Central government as a defence minister in the United Front government led by HD Deve Gowda.
Over the years, the twists and turns of politics have seen him gravitating to every political party till he formed the Samajwadi Party in 1992. As the leader of his own party, he had partnered all key parties - the Congress, the BJP and even Mayawati.
His first stint as a Chief Minister in 1989 was over in two years after he ordered security forces to fire at a mob which tried to bring down the Babri mosque, earning bedrock support from the Muslim community.
After Babri Masjid was razed three years later, Mulayam Yadav teamed up with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to be Chief Minister again in 1993. But the relation had soured within a year as Mayawati ditched him and partnered the BJP to form a new government where she became a Chief Minister.
Both Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have put the enmity behind to form an alliance that's aimed at keeping the BJP out of power.
Two years ago, in the huge struggle for power within the party, Akhilesh Yadav had won, though he lost the assembly election that followed. His uncle Shivpal Yadav - a key advisor to his father - quit and formed his own party.
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