Mulayam Singh Yadav, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and founder of the Samajwadi Party, died on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 82.

Yadav was undergoing treatment at the Medanta Hospital in Gurugram since August 22. His condition deteriorated on October 2, following which he was shifted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

His last rites will be held with full state honours in Etawah district’s Saifai, his ancestral village, reported ANI. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath announced a three-day state mourning.

Born in November 1939 in Saifai, Yadav first became an MLA at the age of 27. In 1992, he founded the Samajwadi Party and went on to represent the constituencies of Mainpuri, Azamgarh and Sambhal in Lok Sabha.

Yadav served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh three times – from 1989 to 1991, 1993 to 1995 and 2003 to 2007. He also served as the defence minister between 1996 and 1998 in the United Front governments led by HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral.

A teacher by profession and wrestler by training, Yadav faced electoral losses after he ordered firing on kar sevaks at the peak of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in 1990, reported The Hindu. He, however, made a comeback by portraying himself as a saviour of the Constitution and on a strong Muslim-Yadav alliance.

In 2012, after his party won the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Yadav handed the chief minister’s position to his son Akhilesh Yadav.

However, infighting grew in the family due to his decision to pass the baton to his son, ultimately resulting in him expelling Akhilesh Yadav from the party in 2016, a year ahead the Uttar Pradesh elections, reported NDTV. However, the father and son patched things up and Akhilesh Yadav took over the party.

Tributes pour in

Politicians cutting across the party lines mourned Mulayam Singh Yadav’s death on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his anguish over the veteran politician’s death and said that he was a key soldier for democracy during the Emergency. “As defence minister, he worked for a stronger India,” he wrote on Twitter. “His Parliamentary interventions were insightful and emphasised on furthering national interest.”

President Droupadi Murmu said the achievements of Yadav, who came from an ordinary environment, were extraordinary. “He was respected by people of all parties,” she added. “My deepest condolences to his family members and supporters.”

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that he has lost a brother. “Over 4 decades, I have had the fortune of spending plenty of time with the OBC stalwart who always impressed me with his charm, humility and deep understanding of Indian politics,” he tweeted.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that Yadav’s contribution to Indian politics and advocacy for social justice will always be remembered.