The former CPI-M leader had suggested that Akhilesh be "allowed to be on his own". Mulayam seemingly took the advice seriously and allowed 'Tipu', as Akhilesh Yadav is fondly called in the family, to have a free run in scripting his political career. Today, the man born July 1, 1973 is set to be the youngest chief minister of India's most politically crucial state. Following a near rout in the 2007 assembly polls, when Mayawati romped back with a 203-member majority, Mulayam Singh handed over the party reigns to his son Akhilesh in 2009. The environmental engineer from Sydney University was appointed the state president of SP. Until then, Akhilesh was content being in the backseat and enjoying life like any other young man. Movies and football were his favourite pasttimes and he loved riding on a specially made bicycle to be fit.
Image: Samajwadi's Uttar Pradesh state party president Akhilesh Yadav greets supporters prior to a press conference at party headquaters in Lucknow on March 6, 2012.