Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav may have an aversion to English as stated in his party's election manifesto – but his colleagues in Uttarakhand do not seem to share his views. The party's Uttarakhand unit is planning to release a separate manifesto highlighting state-specific issues. And one prominent issue will be 10 % reservation for local students in English-medium public schools. This demand goes against what Mulayam has been saying. He has opposed the use of English in government offices and even suggested that expensive English-medium schools be abolished. But SP's state leaders say Uttarakhand's concerns are different from those of Uttar Pradesh. 'If our party comes to power at the Centre or becomes part of the ruling coalition, we'll ensure 10 % reservation for locals in the public schools of Uttarakhand,' told Vinod Barthwal, SP's national general secretary on Monday.
Barthwal said that the move was necessary because Uttarakhand's reputable public schools – especially those located in Dehradun, Mussoorie and Nainital – discriminated against students from the state. He added, 'The schools don't allow admission to needy local students on the grounds of caste, religion and financial status.' He said a separate SP manifesto – likely to be released this week – would promise 'reservation for students.' The public schools rubbished the demand for reservation. 'It is ridiculous and we will oppose such political agenda,' said Dev Lahiri, principal of Welham Boys School. He said public schools never denied admission on the basis of caste, religion or financial status. 'We have to keep in consideration the growing cost of education, but schools are committed to education for all and Welham even offers scholarships.'