The Centre Wednesday defended its decision to deny permission to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to attend the C40 World Mayors’ Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Union Minister Prakash Javadekar saying it was a “mayor-level conference” and a West Bengal minister is going to attend it.
The Aam Aadmi Party, however, asked how, then, was former CM Sheila Dikshit given clearance to attend the same summit in 2007 in New York. Kejriwal, along with seven other delegation members, was to leave for the summit on Tuesday and address two sessions and a joint press conference over three days.
“The frivolous reasoning given by Mr Javadekar does not stand scrutiny. He did not check his facts before speaking. Had he done so, he would have known that in 2007, then CM Sheila Dikshit had led the Delhi delegation for the C40 climate change summit which was held in New York that year… Javadekar is clearly unaware of the administrative structure of major cities and states. For example, the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in 2010 were inaugurated by the then CM, whereas in other major cities these are inaugurated by the mayors,” said AAP leader Raghav Chadha.
The summit is being held in Copenhagen between October 9 and 12 and representatives from different countries and cities will speak about innovative action taken to reduce pollution. Over the past seven years, particulate matter concentration in Delhi has fallen steadily.
An MEA spokesperson, meanwhile, 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. In the instant case, the participation of the Chief Minister of Delhi as a speaker at a panel discussion was not commensurate with the level of participation from other countries. The Chief Minister of one of the largest and populous cities in the world, which is also the capital of India, was therefore advised not to attend the event.”
Central government sources later said a separate protocol is followed for chief ministers and rejected suggestions that opposition parties were being targeted.
The Delhi BJP also targeted Kejriwal and Delhi the government for trying to “replace Mayor of Delhi”. “Till now, Kejriwal was trying to defame the municipal corporations of Delhi. Now, he wants to defame the country at an international summit… He should have proposed a mayor’s name, but he tried to take credit for work done by other agencies,” Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said.