The decline and fall of Lucknow University

Once a talent ground for political leaders, not even Akhilesh Yadav has come out in support of 11 LU students cooling their heels in a district jail for showing black flags to Yogi Adityanath.

Written by Bhupendra Pandey | Updated: June 13, 2017 4:49 pm
Lucknow University, Yogi Adityanath, Samajwadi Party student's wing, Lucknow University students jailed Police overpower Samajwadi Party’s students wing members who showed black flags to the fleet of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow. (PTI Photo)

Eleven Lucknow University students, including two girls, have been cooling their heels in a district prison for about a week. They committed the ‘crime’ of showing black flags to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and holding up his fleet of cars for six-seven minutes during his recent visit to the University.

The lower court denied the students bail – it is believed the prosecution was instructed to oppose bail so that these “disturbing elements” learnt a lesson. The police has lodged the case under serious charges of rioting, causing hurt to deter policemen in functioning of their duty and assaulting policemen on duty.

None of these students had indulged in stone pelting or any other violent act. In fact, there are pictures showing policemen beating them up.

Yogi Adityanath reacted strongly to the incident. In his speech at the University, he described them as “ugravadi,” or terrorists, and wanted to know from officials how the students had gotten close to his fleet of vehicles.

Of the students jailed, four are from the CPI(M)’s student wing, the Students Federation of India (SFI), six are from the Samajwadi Party, while one girl is a sympathizer. Only the SFI protested the jailing of the students.

Surprisingly, the Samajwadi Party hasn’t uttered a word in support of their students so far, considering it has a number of youth organisations, like the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, Yuvjan Sabha, Mulayam Singh Yadav Youth Brigade and Lohia Vahini.

Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had once upon a time supported these student leaders – but that was a long time ago, even before the 2012 Assembly polls when he was battling against Mayawati’s BSP regime. These student organisations were instrumental in helping Akhilesh emerge as the youth face of the party – they helped him lever himself to the top job when he sought to portray himself as a young person who understood the needs of young people in the state.

In fact, many of the party’s frontal organisations had been manned by several student leaders, leading to considerable friction between Akhilesh and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav.

But Akhilesh Yadav seems to have completely forgotten these students today. No Samajwadi Party student wing leader has organized even one protest against the police’s uncalled-for action.

This incident calls for an examination of student politics in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati never allowed student elections to take place during her regime, from 2007-12. The Congress’ NSUI has been defunct for years, only contesting a variety of students union elections but hardly bothering to agitate on any matter that involves students.

Of course, things were different in the good old days. In the 1980s, all the major political parties used universities as a talent pool to nurture future leaders.

Two Lucknow University student union presidents, Arvind Singh Gope and Brajesh Pathak, have been playing active role in UP politics for the last 15 years. While Gope was minister in Samajwadi Party governments in 2003-2007 and 2012-2017, Brajesh Pathak has been BSP MP both from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha . Presently he is a cabinet minister in the BJP government after being elected from Lucknow.

Of course, both these student leaders-turned politicians never stood by students protests after they joined the active politics.

A new chapter in the decline and fall of Lucknow University is being written these days.

Bhupendra Pandey is bureau chief, The Indian Express, Uttar Pradesh

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  1. M
    Mâññâyâdâv k%c3%bcshw%c3%a2h%c3%a2
    Jun 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm
    Search Twitter those who sympathizes with the students would know that they were throwing themselves on CM's vehicle and trying to dismantle it, it was his security men who came in between
    1. M
      Mâññâyâdâv k%c3%bcshw%c3%a2h%c3%a2
      Jun 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm
      Morons, you better see the video of that day!! They tried to kill CM yogi!! Video was viral on Twitter..these s stopped his vehicle, tried even to break the bonnet and the doors.. One of them could have been a human bomb. Let them rot in prison, SP , BSP, Cong has destro the education system of the state.. We don't want JNU in our state.. These s should be given lessons for the life
      1. C
        Capt Mukul
        Jun 14, 2017 at 8:16 am
        I think the author is unaware of the legacy of Lucknow University. Preture turned politicians should let the young India grow in condusive environment. Don't let the politics enter in campuses. The students arrested should immediately released
        1. S
          S.K. Express
          Jun 14, 2017 at 4:12 am
          Do not trust what this columnist says. He is well-known for writing lies. He is just lying some more. These students were behaving like hooligans and must be treated that way so that discipline and security is maintained around campuses in India.
          1. A
            abhinav srivastava
            Jun 14, 2017 at 1:58 am
            I remerber goons from this newly formed ruling party exhibiting thier practical politics inside of park and outside, but no action has been taken .. remember when you got a viral video of a hooligans beating people on valentines day claiming of thier supremacy, any action taken, no! Because they are of CM's, for CM's and to CM's. proximity to power deludes some into believing they wield it ..what in the world of leading democracy where there can be no protest and false charges on protesters.. here the naye ki devi has removed her cloth from eye to see her beneficiary letting pride to cloud her judgement and it is nothing inside politics is much larger .. i could see we have stoped living in mutual admiration society, now its full of corruption and doomed state (art 12). Share this news to everyone so to next time when the election comes we are not to be sober.. let vin Diesel do his part in movies and let the chai wala be the manager of His shop but not running through people's life
            1. S
              Jun 14, 2017 at 1:32 am
              Expecting SP to protest against decisions by jhandelwalan is wishful thinking. The election time drama to ensure bjp victory has confirmed that SP is just a b team of bjp.
              1. N
                Jun 13, 2017 at 11:13 pm
                I never knew that showing black flags to the politician is a un bailable crime.. shame to you cm of uttar pradesh that inspite of listening to their problem .. the cm given punishment to these students -_-
                1. P
                  Pradeep Goswami Goswami
                  Jun 13, 2017 at 10:31 pm
                  By mistake I type "they are criminal" it is "they are not criminals" Thanks
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