Mulayam Singh Yadav, founder of the Samajwadi Party and one of India’s more prominent politicians, was shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a Gurugram hospital on Sunday after his health deteriorated.

Mulayam Singh, 82, has been admitted to the Medanta hospital in Delhi suburb Gurugram since August 22. Press Trust of India said he is being treated under the supervision of oncologists Dr Nitin Sood and Dr Sushil Kataria. 

Some media reports quoted doctors as saying that Mulayam Singh’s condition is “serious.” 

His son and the current president of the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav reached Delhi on Sunday evening to be by father’s side. Mulayam Singh’s brother Shivpal Yadav is already at the hospital. The veteran politician’s wife Sadhana Gupta died in July this year. 

Mulayam Singh, who served thrice as chief minister of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, has also played a prominent role in national politics as a regional heavyweight. He was India’s defence minister from June 1996 till March 1998 in the United Front government of HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral. His party, under the leadership of his son, continues to be counted as an important member of the opposition in India.

Mulayam Singh Yadav belongs to Saifai village in the Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh. Mulayam Singh trained to be a wrestler and is said to have met his mentor, a local politician called Nathu Singh, at a wrestling match in nearby Mainpuri. He was elected to the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly for the first time in 1967, when he was 28.  

He founded the Samajwadi Party in 1992. 

Mulayam Singh is referred to as “Netaji” by members of his party, including his sons and nephews. Apart from Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple, several other members of the extended Yadav family are politicians, including Mulayam Singh’s brother Shivpal Yadav, cousin Ramgopal Yadav and nephews, Akshaya Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav. Mulayam Singh’s grandnephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav. 

Mulayam Singh, who is the sitting member of Parliament from Mainpuri, has not been very active in politics since Akhilesh Yadav rebelled and took control of the Samajwadi Party in 2017, replacing his father as the party’s president. 

Akhilesh was elected party president for the third time earlier this week.