In a move that could have political ramifications in the run up to Lok Sabha election, the Mulayam Singh Yadav government has directed all government schools and colleges up to intermediate level in Uttar Pradesh to wrap up their teaching work by noon on Fridays.
A government order was issued to this effect on February 16.
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Though officials in Lucknow refused to give any reason for the decision, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that it was a politically motivated move to woo Muslim voters.
The state unit president of BJP, Vinay Katiyar, said it was aimed at "communalising education" and demanded that a similar relaxation be made on Tuesdays to help Hindus offer prayers.
Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, Lalji Tandon, said the government was playing with the future of children. The move was aimed at appeasing the minorities, he added.