Keeping intact its reputation of being a nursery of politicians and giving stalwart leaders to the country like former Prime Ministers VP Singh and Chandra Shekhar besides former chief ministers like ND Tiwari of UP and Madan Lal Khurana of Delhi to name just a few, Allahabad University (AU) once again has its student leaders in the election fray in the Hindi heartland.
Keeping an eye on youth vote bank, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has put its trust on AU student leaders in a big way. The former student leaders who have been fielded by SP include AU’s first woman president of Allahabad University Students Union (AUSU) in post Independent India Richa Singh who has been fielded from Allahabad West seat. She served as AUSU president in 2015-’16.
Another former AUSU president Hemant Kumar ‘Tunnu’ has been given ticket from Manjhanpur (Kaushambi) while former vice president of AUSU Nirbhay Singh Patel has been fielded from Manikpur assembly seat (Chitrakoot). Hemant was elected AUSU president in 2004 while Nirbhay won AUSU election in 2003.
Similarly, ex-student leader of AU Devraj Gupta has been given ticket by Bundelkhand Congress Party from Banda. Though he contested for AUSU president's post in 2005, he had failed to succeed.
Besides these first timers, AU also has its former AUSU president and sitting Congress MLA from Allahabad North constituency Anugrah Narayan Singh again in the field to defend his seat. He was AUSU president in 1979 and is a four-time MLA.
Another seasoned politician and a former UP minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi, who was AUSU president in 1981, is also expected to contest from his traditional seat of Handia. The banner under which he will contest was still undecided till Sunday, a day before the start of nomination process for the fourth phase of UP polls.
Others flying the AU flag high include Upendra Tiwari from Phephana seat of Ballia who is a sitting BJP MLA and again in the fight. He was an active student leader on AU campus between 2003 and 2005 and had also contested for the post of AUSU secretary but could not win. Sangram Singh, a former AUSU secretary of 2004, is also in poll fray from Phephana seat as joint candidate of SP and Congress.