Pooja Shukla, the student activist, who waved a black flag at the chief minister Yogi Adityanath after stopping his motorcade in June 2017 and later participated in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in January 2020, has been named the Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow (north) assembly seat
Pooja was named the SP candidate on Tuesday, days after she turned 25 years of age on January 6.
Pooja had begun campaigning even before she was officially named a candidate on Tuesday.
On June 7, 2017 she and 10 others were accused of attempting to stop the chief minister’s motorcade and for waving black flags at him.
“Yogi was on his way to the Lucknow University campus to take part in `Hindvi Swaraj Diwas’ event on June 7, 2017. Students affiliated to All India Students Association, Students Federation of India and Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha protested on the road, blocked his convoy and showed him black flags. They also raised slogans against the state government,” Pooja recalled.
Subsequently, the students were booked and charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. They were produced before the court which remanded them to judicial custody on June 8.
Pooja and others were released after 20 days in jail when additional sessions judge PM Tripathi granted them bail on furnishing two sureties of ₹40,000 each and a personal bond of the same amount.
Apart from Pooja the other students who were similarly booked included Anil Yadav, Mahendra Yadav, Madhurya Singh Mathur, Vineet Kumar Kushwaha, Satyavrat Singh, Ankit Singh Babu, Ashok Kumar Prabhat, Nitin Raju, Rakesh Samajwadi and Apoorva Verma.
Pooja subsequently met Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and became the face of Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, the student wing of the Samajwadi Party.
Later in 2018, Pooja and others who were booked for waving flags at the chief minister claimed that the Lucknow University denied admission to them for the postgraduate courses.
Pooja Shukla along with another activist Gaurav Tripathi then started an indefinite hunger strike demanding admission of all those students who appeared for the entrance test and whose results were allegedly held back for protesting against the chief minister. They alleged that the university was harassing students.
“I had applied for MA in Women’s Studies but they withheld my entrance exam test result because I had opposed Yogi Adityanath’s visit to the campus,” Pooja claimed.
The student stir led to unrest on the LU campus in 2018.
In July, some students assaulted teachers on campus after which police detained Pooja Shukla. The High Court also took suo moto cognizance of the incident and directed police and district administration to arrest those responsible for assault on teachers.
In January 2020, Pooja joined Muslim women staging anti-CAA protests that started from the Clock Tower on January 17, 2020 against the CAA.
This time she was arrested along with seven others for staging anti-CAA protests in violation of section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Later, Pooja was a part of the Samajwadi Party delegation that comprised senior leader Juhie Singh to hand over monetary compensation of ₹2 lakh to the families of two Muslim women who had died during the anti-CAA protests.
“Those women lost their lives while fighting for justice. They will always be remembered as ones who saved the Constitution,” Pooja said.