Pradhan of Mulayam’s village and childhood friend dies after 48-year reign

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The village head of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ancestral village Saifai in Etawah, passed away in a Lucknow hospital on Saturday, having held the position for 48 years since 1972.

Darshan Singh Yadav, 90, was also a childhood friend and close political associate of the three-time former UP chief minister.

Besides being famous as the ancestral village of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s clan, Saifai is also known for its infrastructure that perhaps no other village in India can boast of. The village has a super speciality medical institute, airstrip, hockey stadium, cricket stadium, sports hostel and a medical college. Successive Samajwadi Party governments developed the village by adding infrastructure and public utility projects to it. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav expressed grief over the demise of Darshan Singh Yadav. He was not keeping well for some time.

Mulayam, SP national general secretary, Ramgopal Yadav, and several other Yadav family members, too, expressed their condolences.

A statement from Samajwadi Party said that Darshan was dear to the Yadav family. SP chief and Azamgarh MP, Akhilesh Yadav; SP Rajya Sabha member Ramgopal Yadav; Jaswant Nagar MLA, Shivpal Yadav, former Badaun MP, Dharmendra Yadav reached Saifai on Saturday and paid their last respects to Dharshan Singh Yadav before his mortal remains were consigned to flames.

During Akhilesh Yadav’s term as UP chief minister, the government awarded Yash Bharati to Darshan Singh.

Darshan won his first gram pradhan election in 1972 and was re-elected in 1982, 1988, and 1995 whenever elections were held. The elections were irregular till 1995 but they were held every five years thereafter with Darshan winning them all unopposed.

PM Narendra Modi had visited Saifai in 2015 to attend a wedding ceremony in the Yadav family; APJ Abdul Kalam, when he was the President of India, had visited Saifai in 2004, and many Bollywood stars including Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhatt, Hrithik Roshan, Jacqueline Farnandez, Parineeti Choptra and Arijit Singh have performed at the annual Saifai rural festival.

In 2015, the Indian Air Force (IAF) landed two of its Mirage 2000s fighter jets at the Saifai airstrip to see if it could be used in emergencies

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