Akhilesh Yadav - A man who cycled his way to political stardom

A son who earned his stripes and grew out of his father's shadows to come into his own and establish himself and his party as a key player in Uttar Pradesh politics.

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Jitesh Surjiani | 20 Nov '21

Wearing the tag of a “dynast” lightly on his shoulders, Akhilesh Yadav is an Indian politician and national president of the Samajwadi Party, who quickly grew out of his father's shadows to come into his own. A quintessential local lad from Uttar Pradesh and educated in India and Australia, Akhilesh has managed to successfully infuse modern thinking into highly caste-based UP politics. Credited for reviving the floundering fortunes of the Samajwadi Party, he became the 33rd and the youngest Chief Minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh which, with more than 200 million people, would be the fifth-largest in the world if it was an independent country.

Family and personal life

Yadav was born on 1 July 1973 in Uttar Pradesh to Mulayam Singh Yadav, a three-time Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and Malti Devi. Akhilesh was brought up mostly by his paternal grandparents as his mother suffered multiple complications while giving birth to him which put her in a vegetative state leading to her demise in 2003.

He is a doting father to his 3 children (daughters Aditi and Tina, and son Arjun) and a loving husband to Dimple Yadav, a former Member of Parliament, whom he often credits for being the lucky charm in his life. Besides being a keen environmentalist, Akhilesh is a die-hard socialist. He counts Guns N' Roses, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, and Metallica among his favorite musicians and is equally fond of romantic Bollywood songs.


Akhilesh completed his early education in a local school in Saifai and then one in Etawah town. He was schooled at the Military School in Dholpur, Rajasthan. After obtaining his degree in Civil Environmental Engineering at JSS Science and Technology University, a private university in Karnataka, he went to Australia to pursue a master's degree in environmental engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Journey into politics

Given Akhilesh’s desire to serve the poor and his rich political pedigree, politics was a natural choice. His first significant breakthrough in politics was at age 27 when he was elected as the Member of the 13th Lok Sabha for the Kannauj constituency in a by-election in 2000. The entry into politics, one may say was relatively easier for him as Kannauj was one of the two seats won by his father Mulayam Singh, who retained the Mainpuri seat, vacating Kannauj for his son.

Akhilesh began his second term in the 14th Lok Sabha when he successfully contested the 2004 General Elections. Akhilesh was again elected for a 3rd term in the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009. In March 2012 he was appointed as leader of the Samajwadi Party after his party won the 2012 UP Assembly elections and at the age of 38, he resigned from the Kannauj parliamentary seat and became the 33rd Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the youngest to hold the office.

In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, the SP-Congress Alliance headed by Akhilesh Yadav was defeated by the BJP and he resigned as the CM of UP. Akhilesh successfully contested the 2019 General Elections and was elected as the Member of Parliament from Azamgarh constituency to begin his 4th term in the Lok Sabha.

Key highlights of political life

  • As an MP, Akhilesh served as a member of various Parliamentary committees such as Committee on Food, Civil Supplies, and Public Distribution, Ethics Committee, Committee on Urban Development, Committee on Environment and Forests, Committee on Science and Technology, and the JPC on the 2G spectrum case.
  • Akhilesh Yadav is largely credited for reviving the fortunes of the Samajwadi Party in 2009, then headed by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, which was all but written-off due to various political missteps and outmaneuvering by his political rivals. Yadav successfully remodel the party's image by introducing new ideas and inducting educated professionals. He traveled about 10,000 km, many of which on a bicycle (his party’s symbol), and held 800 rallies that led to the Samajwadi Party winning 224 seats in the 2012 UP Assembly Elections and making him the 33rd and the youngest Chief Minister of UP.
  • During his term as a Chief Minister, over 15 Lakh laptops were distributed to the 10th and 12th pass-out students by the Government of Uttar Pradesh, making it one of the largest distribution schemes by any Government in the world. Also, the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which is the most modern and longest expressway in India, being the first of its kind to be built in the shortest span of time, was completed and inaugurated.
  • Since becoming the chief minister, his family split into two feuding groups pitting him against his father. One faction sided with him and his uncle, Ram Gopal Yadav. The other faction sided with his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, and his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav. In December 2016, Akhilesh was expelled from the Samajwadi party by his father one day after he released a separate list of candidates for the 2017 UP assembly elections, only to be readmitted within a day. The following day, in an act of coup, he was elected as the national head of the Samajwadi Party by his party's national convention in Lucknow, replacing his father.
  • The SP under his stewardship formed an alliance with the Congress which suffered a humiliating defeat by BJP, winning just 47 seats in comparison to 224 seats in the 2012 UP Assembly elections.

Akhilesh Yadav on Twitter


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Jitesh Surjiani

Jitesh Surjiani

Jitesh Surjiani is passionate about progressive change for India and its citizens. He writes about issues that are roadblocks in improving quality of life and interpersonal interactions as well as areas of public governance that fall short in intent and action.

Akhilesh Yadav - A man who cycled his way to political stardom Akhilesh Yadav - A man who cycled his way to political stardom
Akhilesh Yadav - A man who cycled his way to political stardom
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