New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday defended its decision to deny permission to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to attend a climate summit in Denmark, stating that it is meant for ‘mayor-level’ participants, but an angry AAP termed it a ‘very lame excuse’ and an insult to the people of Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal was to leave Tuesday for the C-40 Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, but could not do so. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) examined the request and ‘clearance from political angle’ has been declined, Delhi government sources said. However, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said it was a ‘mayor-level conference’ and a West Bengal minister is going to attend it.
Central Government sources later said a separate protocol is followed for Chief Ministers and rejected suggestions that opposition parties were being targeted.
MEA said Arvind Kejriwal was advised not to attend the World Mayors’ Summit as his visit there as a speaker at a panel discussion does not commensurate with the level of participation from other countries.
In response to media queries regarding political clearance for Kejriwal, MEA Raveesh Kumar said, “A considered decision on political clearance by the Ministry of External Affairs is based on multiple inputs and takes into account the nature of the event, the level of participation by other countries, type of invitation extended, etc.”
However, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said his party will raise the issue in Assembly elections due early next year. His party colleague Raghav Chadha said Javadekar’s comment on Arvind Kejriwal is ‘incorrect, ill-informed and misleading’.
“Election is coming and the AAP will take this issue of not granting us permission to present our good work to the world to the people of Delhi. We will expose the ill-motive and mindset of the BJP,” Sanjay Singh, the Delhi Vidhan Sabha election in-charge of AAP, said.
The Rajya Sabha MP also said Sheila Dikshit had participated in the climate summit as Chief Minister of Delhi. “It is a very lame excuse,” Sanjay Singh said on the protocol issue.