Days after veteran BJP leader L K Advani conveyed to Delhi Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel that he will not attend and address the silver jubilee celebrations of the Delhi legislative assembly, the Delhi units of BJP and Congress have also decided to boycott the December 15 function.
Advani, sources said, had initially confirmed his presence.
While the Delhi unit of the Congress expressed displeasure over the way its leaders were invited, the BJP passed a resolution blaming the state government for disrespecting democratic values of the Assembly.
The Assembly is holding the function to mark the 25th anniversary of its first sitting on December 14, 1993.
Speaker Goel had sent invitations to all former chief ministers and members of the Assembly, as well as the Delhi Metropolitan Council that preceded the Assembly.
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajay Maken, who was the youngest MLA of the Delhi Assembly in 1993 and also the youngest Speaker of the House, said politics was prevailing over institution-building and decency. He said an all-party “celebration committee” should have been formed to hold the function. Such a committee has not been formed previously.
“Such celebrations should remain non-political. An institution like the Delhi legislative assembly is being degraded by making it a political issue. I have been a part of the assembly and in most of the functions, during our tenure, we personally called the chief guests and other members for any big celebration,” Maken told The Indian Express.
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit also expressed displeasure over the invitation. “The kind of invitation we should have got has not come to us from the organisers. One should have the decency to call or personally invite a former CM, who served the capital for 15 years,” Dikshit told The Indian Express.
Passing a resolution, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta announced that BJP MLAs will boycott the event. “The resolution demanded that the four-year black period of Kejriwal government should be removed from the glorious 25-year history of the assembly. The assembly has been converted into AAP’s public meetings,” Gupta said.
Calling the boycott an “insult” to the institution, Goel said, “I haven’t read any statements but by deciding to boycott, he (Maken) is insulting the institution of which he was a part. He is also insulting the people who elected him as speaker. It was not possible for me to personally call up every invitee. Both Maken ji and Sheila ji were sent letters on my behalf.”