LUCKNOW, DECEMBER 17: When Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav shook the State Assembly and called Lucknow University Vice-Chancellor Ram Prakash Singh a dictator working at the behest of Governor TV Rajeswar, it may have appeared an over-reaction. It was but panic, for, by closing down the university sine die the V-C has dared the lion in his own den.
The student leaders the Vice-Chancellor is trying to tame are not just a few street toughies, but an integral part of the menacing brigade, which is at the beck and call of the Samajwadi Party. Ram Prakash Singh has caused a flutter in this army, and the general, at worst, can fret and at best, fume. His inability to do anything against the V-C is an area of concern for Mulayam because he cannot afford a loss of face in this crowd.
If the V-C has widespread support for his actions, it isn’t just for the university’s clean-up that he has initiated, but also for a symbolism that goes beyond to acquire a pan Uttar Pradesh appeal. The visual of last year’s elections where student leaders strutted about the campus with gunners and gun-toting supporters, in the presence of the police as a bystander, made the Lucknow University a representative of who the law and order machinery across the State works for.
After spitting venom in the State Assembly, the Chief Minister called an all-party meeting, called the V-C names, said he was out to destroy the university and that he should be sacked. Significantly, Mulayam also said, “What is wrong if the student leaders don’t wish elections according to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations? Why should the Vice-Chancellor decide this?”
Among those the Chief Minister wants the V-C to let decide how to hold the elections is Ram Singh Rana, who was expelled last year from the university for assaulting teachers. His importance for Mulayam could be understood by the episode last year when at the convocation of UP Technical University, he asked Lucknow University authorities to reinstate Rana. His directive, issued in presence of Rana and LU Pro-V-C at the function, was implemented in a week.
It is clear where Rana draws strength from when he howls into TV mikes, “Aag laga doonga pure Lucknow mein, kisiko nahi chhodunga.” He has ten criminal cases, one among them assault on faculty members. He is even wanted in two cases, notwithstanding that just on Wednesday he was taking ‘classes’ on the university grounds singing paeans to himself and the Chief Minister.
An FIR was lodged against him last year for forcibly entering the residence of the Vice-Chancellor and beating up his servant. He fails on all parameters of Lyngdoh recommendations, including his age, class attendance, criminal charges, expulsion from the varsity, et al.
(With inputs from Manish Sahu)
• Bajrangi Singh ‘Bajju’: LUSU president; Believed to be a close associate of Arvind Singh Gope, Minister of State for PWD and former LUSU president, has nine criminal cases, including an attempt to murder pending against him and Explosive Act lodged in 2000.
• Brijesh Yadav: LUSU vice-president; Blatantly flaunts his affiliation with Samajwadi Party and has four criminal cases, including an attempt to murder, in his name. LU proctor AN Singh lodged an FIR against him on August 26, 2005 for allegedly attacking him.
• Vinod Tripathi: LUSU general secretary; An active member of Congress student wing National Students Union of India has nine criminal cases. Tripathi was recently arrested.
• Vijay Kumar Singh alias Tintu: As many as 12 criminal cases, including Gangster Act lodged in 2004 in Gonda district. Wanted in three cases. LU proctor RN Singh had lodged three cases against him for creating ruckus on the campus.
• Ranjeet Singh Baghel: Nine criminal cases, including one under the Explosives Act. In 2005, student leader Vinod Tripathi lodged an FIR against him for reportedly attacking him. Ranjeet is wanted in two criminal cases.
• Shiv Bhushan Singh, former general secretary of the students’ cabinet: Has 12 criminal cases against him. On March 22, 2006, an FIR was lodged against him for reportedly beating up professor of Department of Public Administration Nand Lal Bharti.
(Except one, all owe allegiance to the SP)