BJP MP from Chandauli Mahendra Pandey, who took oath as Union minister of state on Tuesday, has a strong connection with the Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
Pandey started his political journey from BHU as a student union leader. He earned his post-graduate degree in Hindi and PhD from BHU. In late ‘70s, he contested BHU students’ union election for the post of general secretary in which he emerged victorious.
Head of political science department at BHU professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra said that Pandey’s association with right wing politics was around 35 years old. Pandey joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) after taking admission to BHU.
“He was very popular as a student leader. He has been associated with the BJP since it was known as Jan Sangh. He was elected MLA twice in 1991 and 1996 from Saidpur assembly constituency in Ghazipur,” Mishra said.
“Pandey also served as minister of state in UP government in 1997. Union minister Kalraj Mishra is his political mentor. Pandey succeeded in getting the BJP ticket for assembly election just because of Mishra. Pandey also served as general secretary in UP BJP and won the general election in 2014,” he said.
Professor Mishra said that by inducting Pandey in the cabinet, the BJP was trying to woo the Brahmins. “However, Pandey’s influence among the Brahmin community is confined to a few assembly constituencies in eastern UP,” he claimed.
“Dr Pandey is a good parliamentarian and his attendance rate in parliament is also very high. His induction will certainly accelerate development projects in the region,” Mishra said.
He said that Union minister of state for railway Manoj Sinha had also served as the president of BHU students’ union.
“It is a matter of pride that two former students of BHU are in the Union cabinet and their political career is spotless,” professor Mishra said.