Former Union Minister Sharad Yadav passes away

Sharad Yadav had been ailing for some time but was at home for the past few months

Updated - January 13, 2023 08:46 am IST

Published - January 12, 2023 11:26 pm IST - New Delhi:

Former Union Minister Sharad Yadav

Former Union Minister Sharad Yadav | Photo Credit: Ravi Choudhary

Socialist leader and former Union Minister Sharad Yadav passed away on Thursday evening after he was rushed to a Gurugram hospital when he complained of restlessness. He had been ailing for some time but was at home for the past few months. His daughter, Congress leader Subhashini Sharad Yadav, confirmed his passing on Twitter, saying “Papa Nahin Rahe” (Papa is no more).

Condolences were expressed by senior political leaders, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi noting that Yadav’s long career in public life and his socialist ideals were inspired by the late socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge said that Yadav’s commitment to the politics of social justice would always be remembered.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda in his condolence message on Twitter said: “I feel very sad to learn about the demise of my long time friend and Janata Parivar colleague Shri #SharadYadav. I had met him a few months back to enquire after his health. May his soul rest in peace. Om Shanti.”

Yadav, 74, was born in July, 1947 in Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh. His long political career saw him plunge into the anti-Emergency movement under Jayprakash Narayan and hold strongly to his socialist roots throughout. His election from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh in a bypoll in 1974 is considered a landmark in the anti-Emergency struggle going on at that time, and his extreme youth (he was a student leader) was a marker of things to come. As the candidate of the combined Opposition, he defeated the Congress candidate.

Mortal remains of late JDU leader Sharad Yadav brought to his residence in Delhi | Video Credit: ANI

He had fought Lok Sabha elections and won from three States -- Madhya Pradesh (Jabalpur), Bihar (Madhepura) and Uttar Pradesh (Badaun).

While he may have changed parties -- from the Lok Dal during the Emergency period to forming the Janata Dal with the late Prime Minister V.P. Singh in 1988, and later forming the Janata Dal (United) in the late 1990s (when he parted ways with another former PM H.D. Deve Gowda) and the 2003 avatar with the late George Fernandes and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar -- he remained firm on socialism and its credentials.

While he did have issues with regard to the reservation of Lok Sabha seats for women, he maintained that he was an advocate of quota for backward classes within the larger reservation for women. He was a supporter of the Mandal Commission as well.

He had a long career in both Houses of Parliament, being re-elected to several terms in the Lok Sabha — in 1977, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1999, and 2009, and Rajya Sabha — 1986 and 2004.

He first entered the Union Council of Ministers when V.P. Singh became Prime Minister of a short-lived National Front government (1989–90), as Minister for Textiles and Food Processing. After the split in the Janata Dal, he formed the JD(U) in the late 1990s and became a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and was also the convenor of the alliance for a time. When Atal Behari Vajpayee became Prime Minister, Yadav served variously as Minister for civil aviation, labour, consumer affairs, and food and public distribution between the period 1999-2004.

He lost his Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 Parliamentary elections and two years later, he was replaced as president of the JD(U). The move set off a power struggle within the party, and in 2018 Yadav and his supporters formed Loktantrik Janata Dal. All this was resolved a couple of years later when he merged his new party with the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal.

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