Decline of student politics takes toll on electoral landscape in Prayagraj

Discontinuation of student unions in Allahabad University since 2018 is attributed to be the reason behind mellowed down electoral season
This decline is attributed to the discontinuation of the student union at Allahabad University in 2018
This decline is attributed to the discontinuation of the student union at Allahabad University in 2018EdexLive Desk

Once a vibrant element of elections in and around Prayagraj, student politics has lost its appeal, reported the PTI. This decline is attributed to the discontinuation of the student union at Allahabad University in 2018, following a series of violent incidents preceding the varsity polls.

According to the report, various groups have been advocating for the revival of the student union despite its cessation. Social activist and Allahabad High Court lawyer, KK Roy, who served as the president of the Allahabad University Students' Union from 1988 to 1991, emphasised the pivotal role of the union in shaping future leaders.

“The AUSU worked like a primary school for future parliamentarians and to establish a permanent voice assessing the government of the day. Several youth organisations not only here but in other parts of North India, established a culture of progressive youth politics,” said Roy remarking on the significant impact of student politics on nurturing leaders across various sectors, including politics, civil services, journalism, and other fields.

He further added, “The youth are bearing the brunt of the absence of a students’ union, with a palpable sense of disengagement prevailing. Amidst pressing issues like unemployment, the significance of student representation becomes even more pronounced. It is plausible to speculate that had the students’ union been intact, the scourge of paper leaks from 2017 to 2023 could have been averted.”

Recalling the influence of the Students Union, Roy mentioned former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar's visit to the university soon after assuming office, where he pledged central support to the students. However, the void left by the absence of student politics is deeply felt, as expressed by Sunil Mourya, a former university student associated with the Revolutionary Youth Association.

Mourya emphasised that the decline in student politics not only affects student groups but also impacts the broader society, as student unions traditionally played a crucial role in raising issues and leading movements. He lamented the collapse of student leadership, which once held sway in both Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.

"In Uttar Pradesh universities, the absence of student union elections has broader ramifications, extending beyond student groups to impact the entire societal fabric. Student unions historically served as platforms for expressing grievances and spearheading movements. With their dissolution, this vital channel for societal engagement and activism has ceased to exist," said Mourya, recalling how student leaders used to be a driving force for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha candidates.

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