AS CHIEF Minister Arvind Kejriwal prepares to leave for the canonisation of Mother Teresa in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome — his first official foreign tour since coming to power — Cabinet minister Satyendar Jain is awaiting a nod from the Lieutenant Governor (LG) to start packing his bags as well.
An Indian delegation led by Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will attend Mother Teresa’s sainthood ceremony to be held on September 4 at the Vatican.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jain tweeted, “Waiting for LG’s approval (File on LG’s table for last 7 days) to attend Mother Teresa Sainthood celebration in Vatican.”
Jain was told by the general administration department that an approval for his foreign tour has to be sought from the LG. Though the file had been forwarded about a week ago, a response is still awaited.
Officials said that earlier, all foreign tours undertaken by state government ministers or legislators had to be cleared by the Ministry of External Affairs. “These are political clearances that have to be taken from the Centre. Now, the LG has the power to clear these files. It is a routine procedure and usually does not take so much time. We wonder why it is being held back this time,” said a source close to the minister.
Officials at the LG secretariat refused to comment on the issue, maintaining that a huge stack of files has arrived at the LG office recently and it will take some time for all of them to be cleared.
Meanwhile, officials said Kejriwal will be the only other CM apart from Mamata Banerjee in the Indian delegation. He had worked briefly with Mother Teresa in Kolkata in the time after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and before joining Tata Steel in Jamshedpur in 1989. Kejriwal will reach Italy on September 2 and attend several ceremonies in the run-up to the canonisation.
“He usually does not go on official foreign tours and this will be the first time after becoming the CM that he will be going abroad. He made an exception only for Mother Teresa because he had a personal bond with her that dates back to the time when he freshly came out of college and worked with her in Kolkata as a volunteer,” said a source in the CMO.
Before heading back on September 5, Kejriwal is likely to meet the Aam Aadmi Party’s overseas wing in Italy.