Yogendra Yadav (5 September 1963) is an Indian activist, psephologist and politician whose primary interests are in the political and social sciences. He has been a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi since 2004. He is a former member of University Grants Commission (UGC) and National Advisory Council on Right to Education Act (NAC-RTE) constituted by Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Govt of India, in 2010. He was a member of the National Executive of the Aam Aadmi Party until 2015.
Yadav is a founding member of Swaraj Abhiyan and Jai Kisan Andolan. He is also the first and current National president of Swaraj India.
Yogendra Yadav's father is a retired professor of economics and his paternal grandfather was a teacher. His wife, Madhulika Banerjee, is an associate professor at the University of Delhi. His birth name was Salim, which is commonly associated with people of the Muslim faith. It was changed to Yogendra when he was aged five because he was being mocked by children at school. Yadav says that his original name, and its continued usage among family members and friends, reflects a familial response to the murder of his grandfather in a communal riot in 1936. He denied the accusation that by mentioning it he was attempting to secure Muslim votes.
Academics and research
Before joining CSDS, he was a professor of Political science at Punjab University, Chandigarh (1985-1993). Between 1995–2002, Yadav was the founder-convenor of the Lokniti network. He was also founder-director of the CSDS Lokniti research programme on comparative democracy between 1997 and 2003. Since 1996, he has been a psephologist and political commentator on a number of television channels in India including Doordarshan, NDTV and CNN-IBN, as well as providing advice to Rahul Gandhi for the 2009 elections.
Yadav was appointed as a member of the National Advisory Council for the implementation of the Right to Education Act in 2010. He was appointed a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in 2004.
In 2011, Yadav supported the general aims of, and spoke publicly at events, during the nationwide anti-corruption protests and later joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), formed by anti-corruption activists. Yadav served as a member of the National Executive of the party. His involvement with the AAP was perceived as creating a conflict of interest with his July 2011 appointment as a member of the University Grants Commission, resulting in the Ministry of Human Resource Development ejecting him from the latter role in September 2013. Yadav had argued that there was no conflict.
Yadav contested the 2014 Indian general elections from Gurgaon constituency as an AAP candidate. He came fourth and lost his deposit.
On 4 March 2015, Yadav was voted out of AAP's Political Affairs Committee (PAC). Subsequently, on 28 March, he was expelled from the party's National Executive for alleged "anti-party activities". In April, he was expelled from the party. Yadav denied being involved in anti-party activities and stated that he was victimised for challenging "dictatorial ways" of the party's chief Arvind Kejriwal.
Together with Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar (sociologist) and Ajit Jha, Yadav has formed a new political organisation called Swaraj Abhiyan. Yogendra Yadav urged Delhi voters to choose NOTA in 2019 Indian general election as no political parties in Delhi have fulfilled their promises. He termed NOTA as “No Till an Alternative”. Yogendra Yadav was the panelist for India Today Conclave 2019 along with peasant leader Vijoo Krishnan and economist Ashok Gulati to discuss farmers issue in India.
Awards and honours
In 2008, Yadav received Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for Development Studies and in 2009, in recognition of his outstanding work on the politics of the developing world, he received Global South Solidarity Award by the International Political Science Association.
Yadav has published many articles and books. He was an editor and advisor for various publications, such as the European Journal of Political Research, Samayik Varta and the Hindi-language social science anthologies titled Lokchhintan and Lokchintak Granthamala.
- State of Democracy in South Asia (2008) co-authored and co-edited (with Sandeep Shastri and K C Suri).
- Electoral Politics in Indian States (2009).
- Democracy in Multi-national Societies (2010) co-authored with Alfred Stepan and Juan Linz.
- Democratic Politics - 1 (2006) Chief Advisor with Suhas Palshikar, published by NCERT.
- Democratic Politics - 2 (2006) Chief Advisor with Suhas Palshikar, published by NCERT.
- Modiraj Main Kisan, Double Aamad, ya Double Aafat (2018) on agrarian crisis under the Modi government