Friday, January 05, 2007

Sandeep Pandey on student politicians

Sandeep Pandey, Ramon Magsaysay award winner and fellow-alumnus of the Institute of Technology at the Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU), says:

As a Banaras Hindu University student with a rosy picture of politics as an instrument of social change, I had run for the post of representative of the university’s Institute of Technology in 1985. It was a shocking experience: the candidates for the posts of president, vice-president and general-secretary asked me to align with them on the basis of a common caste, and they offered me access to any movie in town — and also liquor, if needed, for students who could pledge their votes. Having won the election, I attended the first few meetings of the union. They left me disillusioned for life about Indian electoral politics.

Students who won or ran for the top three posts did very well in their subsequent political careers. Rajesh Mishra, who was vice-president of the union, is the Congress MP from Varanasi now; O.P. Singh, who was general secretary, became a minister in the last BJP government in UP. Manoj Sinha, a former president of the union, became the BJP MP from Ghazipur, and Satya Prakash Sonkar, who ran for a post in the 1985 university election but did not win, became an MLA later.

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Update: In the comments section, Sahodaran offers the link to this informative article on the conclusions of a Committee (headed by the former Chief Election Commissioner James Lyngdoh) which went into the question of whether the presence of political parties in university and college campuses is desirable.


  1. Arun said...

  2. Abi said...

    Wow! Thanks for that link, Sahodaran.

  3. Arun said...

    BTW, Mr. Lyngdoh is another Ramon Magsaysay award winner