The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP), in its manifesto released on Thursday, promised 85% quota to residents of Delhi in city colleges, free nursery to class 12 education and guaranteed admission to students in colleges even with 60% marks.

However, several officials and former principals of Delhi University colleges said keeping aside 85% seats for Delhi students in a DU-affiliated college was not for “the state to decide”. Pratibha Jolly, former principal of Miranda House, said that it was “not possible constitutionally even after the city attains full-statehood”. However, the Delhi government could reserve seats of residents of the city in universities it has created.

“All DU colleges are bound with the statutes and ordinances of the Delhi University Act. To make any change in the functioning and policies of these colleges, we need to amend the DU Act in Parliament. All these are merely electoral rhetoric and nothing else,” Jolly said.

The Delhi University, a central institution, has 63 affiliated colleges, of which 28 are fully or partly funded by the state government. Kavita Sharma, former principal of Hindu College, said seats cannot be reserved even in the state-funded colleges.

“The DU, being a central university, treats all education boards alike. Even the Delhi government-funded colleges in DU cannot reserve any seat for the Delhi students because they have to abide by the mandate of the central universities,” she said.

Sharma said the government can only implement the proposed reservations in the colleges affiliated by the state government. “Delhi has two state universities — Ambedkar University and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (IP university). Of these, only IP affiliates the colleges. The government can build more colleges and get them affiliated by the state universities to implement this proposed quota,” she said.

A senior DU official said, “To bring any change in the structure of a university which was established in 1922 through an Act of Parliament, we need to bring state and central government on board.”

In its manifesto, the AAP has also promised to provide free education to students from nursery to class 12. According to a senior party member, the promise is limited to government-run schools.

Khagesh Jha of NGO, Justice for All said education in government schools is already completely free up to class 8. “Students are paying R 10 per month in classes 9 to 12. Only here, the AAP can make the education completely free,” he said.

Among other promises, the party has also vowed to regularise all guest teachers working in government schools, opening new medical and engineering colleges and building new schools and colleges. “But this can be achieved only after full statehood. In fact, even now, the matter is pending before the Lieutenant Governor,” said an AAP member.

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