Two contemporary leaders, who were active in student politics at Lucknow University over a decade ago, are now locked in the battle of ballots in Mallawan assembly seat in Hardoi.
Anurag Mishra and Ashish Kumar Singh ‘Ashu’ contested for the posts of vice-president and general secretary of the Lucknow University Students’ Union (LUSU), respectively, but failed to make a mark.
While the old-time activist of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) Ashish Kumar Singh has got ticket from BJP, Mishra is ready to take him on as the BSP candidate.
“It is nice to contest against an old friend. We recently met at a private function and hugged each other. But when it comes to campaigning, it is a different ball game altogether,” said Ashu while talking to HT over phone from his constituency where he is busy in poll campaign.
Ashu joined ABVP in 1996. “Patriotism and love for motherland is so deep rooted in ABVP that it drew me to join the outfit. Gradually, I became an active member of ABVP and contested for the post of general secretary of LUSU. However, I lost to SP candidate Ram Singh Rana by a margin of a few hundred votes,” he said.
When Ashu filed his nomination on January 30, he was accompanied by his old-time friends from Lucknow University including Manjul Bhagat, Neelesh Singh, Yogendra Singh Babloo and Pintu.
“It was good to see someone whom you have known for years is contesting assembly election. We joined Ashish during nomination to extend our support to him,” said Yogendra.
Recalling his days of student politics at LU, BSP candidate Anurag Mishra said he had filed nomination for the post of LUSU vice-president but his candidature was cancelled at the last moment.
“My dream to become LUSU office-bearer remained unfulfilled. Now that I have got ticket from the BSP and the mood of the people is also against SP, I have a good chance to emerge victorious,” said Mishra, who is presently the chairman of Madhavganj nagar panchayat.
Among other student leaders who are in fray from other seats are Shailesh Kumar Singh ‘Shailu’, a BJP candidate, who is contesting election from Gainsari constituency in Balrampur district.
A former LUSU president, Singh has also contested mayoral election in the past as a BSP-backed candidate.
Lucknow University has produced a number of student leaders who went on to become ministers.
Arvind Kumar Singh ‘Gope’, a former LUSU president, has served as minister in the present Akhilesh Yadav government. Former LUSU vice-president Pawan Pandey is also a minister in the Akhilesh government.
Abhay Singh is sitting SP MLA from Gosainganj constituency in Faizabad and is contesting from the same seat this time around.