Former Union minister and RJD leader Sharad Yadav died on Thursday, January 12 at the age of 75. His daughter, Subhashini Sharad Yadav, confirmed the news on Twitter saying, “Papa nahi rahe (Papa is no more).”
The former minister’s health had been deteriorating and he was admitted to Gurugram’s Fortis hospital. The hospital issued a statement saying Sharad Yadav was brought to the emergency ward in an “unconscious and unresponsive state” and he did not have “any pulse or recordable blood pressure”.
The hospital said Yadav could not be revived despite the best efforts of the health officials and he was declared dead at 10:19 pm.Yadav, one of the tallest socialist leaders of the country, remained at the centre of Janata politics for decades.Sharad Yadav was a three-time member of the Rajya Sabha and a seven-time Lok Sabha MP.
Sharad Yadav, who became an MP from three states (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar), was seen to have forced then Prime Minister VP Singh’s hand in 1990 in implementing the Mandal Commission report granting reservation to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) that changed the course of Indian politics.
Sharad Yadav’s demand for a caste-based quota within the Women’s Reservation Bill was seen to have caused the UPA II government to hold back on the law. In 2011, Sharad Yadav was one of those who pushed the Congress-led government into initiating a socio-economic caste census, but its findings were never published.
A product of the JP movement of the 1970s, Sharad Yadav, who lost to Rajiv Gandhi in the 1981 Amethi bypoll, was also greatly influenced by socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia’s ideals but bloomed in the saffron camp.
REMEMBERING SHARAD YADAV
Sharad Yadav held various portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government between 1999 and 2004. In 2003, Yadav became the president of the Janata Dal United JD(U), a party that included his other former follower, Nitish Kumar.
After he was defeated in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Nitish Kumar helped him get a Rajya Sabha seat.In 2009, Sharad Yadav was again elected to the Lok Sabha from Madhepura. But after the JD(U)’s defeat in the 2014 general elections, Yadav’s relations with Nitish Kumar soured.
In 2017, when the JD(U) under Nitish Kumar realligned with the BJP, Sharad Yadav refused to follow, for which the JD(U) sought his expulsion from the Rajya Sabha.Later, Sharad Yadav parted ways with Nitish Kumar and founded his own party, the Loktantarik Janata Dal (LJD) in 2018.
In March 2022, Yadav announced that the LJD will merge with the Rashtriya Janata Dal as part of his efforts to unite various offshoots of the erstwhile Janata Dal. It marked Yadav’s coming together with Lalu Prasad after more than three decades.