Family history: "The Socialist" Mulayam Singh Yadav was born to Murti Devi and Sughar Singh, a poor peasant's family and pursued post graduation in Master of Arts from Agra University.
Mulayam married twice. His first wife was Malti Devi who gave birth to Akhilesh Yadav in 1973 and she passed away in 2003.
His second wife is Sadhana Gupta, with whom he has another son, Prateek Yadav, who was born in 1988.
His both sons are also married. His elder son and the present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav got married to Dimple Yadav in 1999, who is also a politician and has three children.
His younger and "lessor-known" son, Prateek, who is into real-estate business, is married to his "childhood girlfriend" Aparna Bisht, since 2011.
In his initial days, Mulayam also worked as a lecturer and a wrestler!
Political career: 74-year-old Mulayam Singh Yadav is respectfully known as "Netaji" by his party workers. His traditional constituency is Mainpuri.
In 1950s, he was inspired by the teachings of veteran socialist, Ram Manohar Lohia and became a part of the great socialist leader's movement to fight for farmers' rights.
In his long political career that started in 1960s, he has held several key posts and has visited many countries.
1967- Became MLA for the first time in the UP state assembly.
1975- Jailed during emergency
1989 to 1991- Became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, for the first time. This was when he ordered security forces to fire at a mob which tried to bring down the Babri mosque, forever earning the gratitude of the Muslim community.
1992- Founded Samajwadi Party (SP) based on the socialist principles of DR Ram Manohar Lohia
1993 to 1995- Became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, for the second time
1996 to 1998- Appointed as India's Defence Minister during United Front Government rule in the 11th Lok Sabha.
2003 to 2007- Served Uttar Pradesh as the chief minister for the third time
2004- Re-elected to 14th Lok Sabha (4th term)
May 2009- Re-elected to 15th Lok Sabha (5th term)
Mulayam- led SP strives for the upliftment of the downtrodden and neglected section of society.
Performance as Samajwadi Party supremo: The veteran politician, Mulayam has been at the helm of all the crucial affairs of the SP, even though his son Akhilesh Yadav is the Chief Minister of UP since 2012.
One of the key players of the Indian politics, Mulayam "calls the shots" and claims to be one of the most important players in the 'Third Front' formation.
Interesting facts about Mulayam Singh Yadav: There was a time when Mulayam borrowed a cycle to travel in the countryside where he was born and bred.
He is diminutive but a "never say die fighter" and has proved why he cannot be vanquished in his home turf. His indomitable energy and ability to mix with ordinary folks quickly won him numerous admirers.
Aides recount tales of Mulayam stopping by roadside eateries to chat with commoners.
Mulayam draws support dominantly from the Yadav clan and Muslims. His political hub is the backward belt of Mainpuri and Etawah, the former home to a thriving industry in locally-made guns called 'katta'.
Loyalty means a lot to him.
He has retained his Personal Security Officer Shiv Kumar, his personal secretary Jagjivan and telephone operator-cum-attendant Tara Chand for the last three decades.
While he largely remains a socialist at heart, his lifestyle changed midway. For one who used to sip butter milk bottled in a thermos flask during flights, he now prefers ginger ale.