The long list of Lucknow University's student leaders-turned-politicians

Since 2005, no student union elections have been held at Lucknow University. In 2006 the then-LU administration had decided to hold the polls as per the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Commission
Lucknow University is located in Uttar Pradesh
Lucknow University is a ‘political nursery’ (Pic: Lucknow University + EdexLive Desk)

The yield from Lucknow University’s (LU), ‘political nursery’ is in full bloom in the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had first referred to the student union in the LU as a ‘political nursery’ and his words have proved prophetic, stated a report by IANS.

Today, the maximum number of leaders participating in elections as campaigners, motivators or contestants belong to the Lucknow University Students Union (LUSU).

The list begins with chief ministers

The list begins with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami who is a former Lucknow University student. He was an active member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at the university and was also the president of LU’s ABVP unit.

Even though he has made it big in politics, he still remembers his friends from LU and meets them whenever he comes to Lucknow. He is one of the star campaigners for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat is also an former-LU student but he has not campaigned in Uttar Pradesh this time, mainly due to his health issues. Rawat did his BA and LLB from the university in the 1970s.

Uttar Pradesh’s Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak is another LU alumni who has made a mark for himself in state politics.

Pathak first served as a law minister in the first term of the Yogi government and later became one of two deputy chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh.

Pathak joined the BJP in 2017 after quitting the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Following the 2017 polls in which the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh, he became an MLA from Lucknow's central seat.

Known as a prominent Brahmin leader, Pathak is the party’s star campaigner in the ongoing general election.

Samajwadi Party Lok Sabha candidate from Lucknow, Ravidas Mehrotra, was an active student leader of LU. He was elected LUSU general secretary in 1978.

Those who were presidents of the Lucknow University Students’ Union

Atul Kumar Anjaan, National Secretary, of the Communist Party of India and General Secretary, of All India Kisan Sabha, also graduated from LU student politics. Anjaan passed away recently after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Anjaan won the post of President of Lucknow University Students’ Union in 1978. A gifted orator in half a dozen languages, Anjaan was one of the main leaders of the police-PAC revolt of Uttar Pradesh. He even spent four years and nine months in jail during his political journey.

Rakesh Singh Rana was LUSU general secretary in 1988 and was elected LUSU president in 1992-93. He is a former SP MLA.

Another former LUSU President (1988) Santosh Singh is a BJP MLC.

Arvind Kumar Singh ‘Gope’, who was elected LUSU President in 1993-94, was a minister in SP rule. Similarly, Gopal Rai, a minister in the Delhi government, also graduated from LU student politics in mid-1990s.

And there are more...

The two mafia-turned-politicians have also graduated from LU’s student politics — Dhananjay Singh and Abhay Singh.

Dhananjay Singh is a former student leader who was elected MLA twice from Malhani constituency in Jaunpur, as an independent. He also won the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Jaunpur on a BSP ticket.

SP MLA from Gosainganj in Faizabad, Abhay Singh, is a former LU student leader who has now crossed over to the BJP.

State Transport Minister Daya Shankar Singh has been a LUSU general secretary and president in the past.

Likewise, former LUSU vice-president Arvind Kumar Singh was its elected president in 1995-96. He is an SP MLC and a former Rajya Sabha MP.

Shailesh Singh Shailu, former LUSU president (in 2002-03), had contested the Assembly election on a BSP ticket from Lucknow. He is contesting the by-election from the Gainsari seat on a BJP ticket.

Former SP MLC Anand Bhadauria also graduated from LU student politics. Pawan Pandey (Tej Narain Pandey) was elected LUSU vice-president in 2004 and was a Minister of State during the SP rule in 2012.

Bajrangi Singh Bajju was elected LUSU president in 2005-06. He is now a secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gorakhpur Kshetra.

Former LUSU general secretary Ram Singh Rana (2004) and former LUSU president Rajpal Kashyap (2004) were given minister rank as they were appointed chairman of commissions.

UP minority welfare minister Danish Ansari was also into LU student politics and worked as an ABVP worker there.

Since 2005, no student union elections have been held at Lucknow University.

In 2006 the then-LU administration had decided to hold the polls as per the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Commission. This was opposed and the matter went to court after some student leaders protested the age restrictions.

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