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Lok Sabha poll fever grips Patna University campus amid electoral battle between alumni Shatrughan Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Patna University (PU) students and the faculty are excited that their two famous alumni -Shatrughan Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad- are battling it out in the electoral arena for the Patna Sahib seat.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 16, 2019 20:00 IST
Hindustan Times, Patna
Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha recently joined the Congress after leaving the BJP.
Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha recently joined the Congress after leaving the BJP. (HT Photo )

The mood is upbeat at the prestigious Patna university campus as two of its illustrious alumni and political heavyweights --Shatrughan Sinha and his long time friend-turned-political rival, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad- lock horns for the prestigious Patna Sahib seat.

While Prasad is the BJP candidate from Patna Sahib, Sinha, who recently joined Congress will be representing the Grand Alliance (GA), a conglomerate of five parties. The rivalry between the two for the Patna Sahib seat has grabbed limelight as Sinha has been vocal about his criticism of BJP despite being a part of it till recently.

As the campaigning for the Patna Sahib seat, which goes to polls on May 19, gains momentum gradually, the Patna University (PU) students, many of whom are first time voters, and the faculty, are excited that their two famous alumni are battling it out in the electoral arena and believe that whosoever wins will only bring pride and glory to their alma mater.

Read | Lok Sabha election 2019: Bihar’s Patna Sahib constituency will be closely watched

The student unions and voters are charged up and have already started lobbying for their chosen candidates.

N K Choudhary, former principal of Patna college, said that voting should be done on the basis of ideology. Being an alumnus of any university should not be the basis for support. “As far Ravi Shankar Prasad is concerned, he has been more consistent in politics and connected to the land of Bihar. In the given circumstances, I weigh Ravi Shankar Prasad higher than Shatrughan Sinha for the simple reason that Prasad holds a strong ideology. I will vote for the one who upholds secular, socialist and democratic ideology rather than a strong personality.”

“Our members and the students at a large, are clearly in the mood to support Ravi Shankar Prasad as he had been a joint secretary of ABVP in past and is a promise-fulfilling candidate. He is a leader who works on the ground level. Youth has more confidence in Prasad as his development work in the past has earned high credibility for him,” said Raja Ravi, joint secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s students’ wing

Mritunjya Kumar, vice president of Chhatra JD(U), also expressed the party’s inclination towards Ravi Shankar Prasad as he has been consistent in his political career and sticks to the same party and ideology. “The leader should be educated and wise enough for assessing the needs of the people and Prasad possesses these qualities,” he added.

Also Read | ‘In Patna Sahib, it’s hope versus opportunism’: Ravi Shankar Prasad

However, a section of students said that the contest may not be an easy one for the union minister, as serious discontent prevails against the central government for it’s failure to provide sufficient job opportunities for qualified youth. “PM Modi had assured to dole out two crore jobs every year. But the government did little to fulfil the aspirations of the youths. Switching parties cannot be treated as a parameter to evaluate one’s contribution to the land because many great leaders have been switching their association from one party to another but people’s trust in them remain intact,” said Prabhat Kumar Chandrawanshi, state vice president, National Student Union of India (NSUI).

Tanweer Hassan, former president of the state’s NCP student wing said, “We will support Sinha because he is a trusted leader, who had done a lot for Patna Sahib and his alma mater. He brought AIIMS to Patna, gave money for development of the PU science block and has always been in touch with the university students and faculty. On the contrary, Prasad has suddenly landed in the poll fray from Delhi. Though his wife Maya Shankar is a lecturer, still Prasad never cared to do anything for his alma mater.”

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 16:54 IST

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