Battle for UP: They moved from campus politics to state elections

Campus politics in Uttar Pradesh has given a rich yield to politics in the state. The youth of yesteryears are now established politicians of today, many of whom are contesting elections.

Ravidas Mehrotra, 66, is a former minister in the Samajwadi government and is contesting the Lucknow central seat on SP ticket.

He was an active student leader in the Lucknow University in the mid-eighties and most of the cases registered against him date back to his days on the campus.

Uttar Pradesh minister Brijesh Pathak, who is the BJP candidate from Lucknow Cantt seat, is another Lucknow University alumnus.

He was president of the Lucknow University Students Union in 1990 and then began his career in politics by joining BSP. He was elected an MP in 2004 and then joined the BJP.

Arvind Singh Gope of the SP is another LUSU president who has made his mark in state politics. He has served as minister in two Samajwadi governments and is now contesting the Dariyabad seat from Barabanki.

He remains one of the most popular student leaders who has made his mark in politics.

Rajpal Kashyap, also of the SP, is a former LUSU president and presently, he heads the OBC wing of the party.

He is a member of the Vidhan Parishad and is now campaigning for his party. Kashyap has emerged as a popular leader in the SP and is a key confidant of party president Akhilesh Yadav.

Taj Narain Pandey is a former LUSU vice-president who served as minister in the Akhilesh government. He is contesting the Ayodhya seat.

Manoj Tiwari, former LUSU president, is making his debut in electoral politics. He is the Congress candidate for the Lucknow east seat.

Shailesh Kumar ‘Shailu’, who was LUSU president in 1999, is seeking his second term from the Gainsdi seat in Balrampur district.

The SP candidate from Lucknow north seat, Pooja Shukla, made her mark when she staged a protest against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on his first campus visit in 2017. She spent a fortnight in jail for her ‘misdeed’. Though she is not very active in student politics but the incident has earned her a chance in these elections.

In Prayagraj, former president of Allahabad University Students Union (AUSU), Anugrah Narain Singh is the Congress candidate from Allahabad North seat. A four-term MLA, he is still remembered for his stint in student politics.

Another former office bearer of AUSU and former minister in the state cabinet, Rakesh Dhar Tripathi had been president of AUSU in 1980. The four-time MLA is now the Apna Dal candidate from Pratappur seat.

Richa Singh, former AU president, is contesting the Allahabad West seat on a SP ticket.

Talking to IANS, Arvind Singh Gope says: “The SP has always encouraged student politics and the university is actually a nursery for leaders of tomorrow. We all learnt the rope on the campus and you will find that maximum number fo student leaders are in SP.”


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