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LG returns Arvind Kejriwal’s proposal to attend Singapore summit, Delhi CM writes to MEA for clearance

Sources in the LG Office said the World Cities Summit prima facie seemed to be a conference of mayors and therefore, did not "befit attendance" by a Chief Minister.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

After Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena Thursday returned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s proposal for a foreign visit to Singapore for a summit, the latter shot off a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for a clearance, informed Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. The proposal was sent to the LG around two months back.

Sources in the LG Office said the World Cities Summit prima facie seemed to be a conference of mayors and therefore, did not “befit attendance” by a Chief Minister. “Having carefully studied the nature of the forum and the profile of other attendees, as also the subjects being deliberated upon at the Conference, the LG has pointed out that the Conference will be covering different aspects of Urban Governance which in the case of Delhi are addressed by diverse civic bodies ranging from NDMC, MCD and DDA apart from the GNCTD,” a source in the LG Office said.

“The LG has underlined the fact that GNCTD does not have exclusive domain over the issues corresponding with the theme of the Conference and hence it will be inappropriate for a Chief Minister to be attending the same,” the source added.

The Smart City Project in Delhi is being anchored by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Chief Minister attending such a summit would “set bad precedent”, the source further said.

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In a press conference, Sisodia hit out at the decision calling it “mean politics” and said Kejriwal does not agree with the LG’s “advice”.

“Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was invited to Singapore for the World Cities Summit by the (Singapore) government. It was said urban experts, business and governance leaders are coming for it. The Singapore government has written — your insights will enrich our discussions on how we can make our cities more liveable and sustainable,” he said.

“For the last 1.5-2 months, the file was with the LG. Now he’s written what BJP leaders were saying since yesterday (Wednesday) that this is a conference of mayors and it doesn’t cover subjects under the ambit of GNCTD, so it is advised that the CM should not go for it,” Sisodia said.

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The deputy chief minister said many things are to be discussed at the summit, including Delhi’s education and health systems, electricity, public transportation etc.

“The CM has written (to MEA) that he does not agree with the advice of the LG. He has got the invitation to present the liveable and sustainable model of Delhi in front of the world leaders. If the Singapore government or any other government has called the Delhi government to present these things, how can anyone have a problem with it? This should be a matter of pride for the country. But such things are being done due to mean politics,” he said.

“The CM has now decided that he will apply for political clearance at the Ministry of External Affairs. We are confident and hopeful that the Central government will also see his point and give clearance for the same and that the Delhi model will be put forward in front of world leaders in Singapore,” he added.

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Sisodia said earlier too CMs from India have gone for the Singapore summit and for other such summits, not just from Delhi but many other states.

“Tomorrow, if it becomes that people can only put forward models based on the governance of lists written in the Constitution, then it will become a joke. More than half the time the PM goes outside for states’ work; he talks of electricity, education and many other things. All of these come under the ambit of the CMs. If we take this line, even the PM won’t be able to go then,” he said.

First published on: 21-07-2022 at 04:56:02 pm
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