Kejriwal dropped from Melania Trump’s school visit

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia also missing from the list

Updated - February 24, 2020 04:08 pm IST

Published - February 22, 2020 09:22 pm IST - New Delhi

Arvind Kejriwal.

Arvind Kejriwal.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will most likely not be a part of U.S. First Lady Melania Trump’s visit to a Delhi government school here next week, according to officials in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

According to the AAP officials, the U.S. Embassy had, earlier this week, reached out to the Delhi government in regard to the First Lady’s wish to see the AAP government’s flagship ‘Happiness Curriculum’ in practice and was to convey the schedule on Saturday. When contacted, the Embassy declined to comment on the issue.

“We were reached out to on Thursday and were in the process of screening not just one but two to three schools which could be a part of the visit,” an AAP official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. “Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia, in his capacity as Deputy CM as well as the Education Minister, were to be a part of the programme,” the official added.

“However, on Saturday when we were supposed to get the final word from the U.S. Embassy regarding the visit, it was conveyed that neither the Chief Minister nor the Deputy Chief Minister can be a part of it due to some issues related to protocol,” said another AAP official, who declined to be identified.

Sources familiar with the matter asserted that the Delhi government had been contacted by the U.S. Embassy as per procedural norms relating to preparation of the First Lady’s proposed itinerary when visiting a foreign nation.

“The Chief Minister and Mr. Sisodia were originally asked to brief the First Lady about the Happiness Curriculum, which is the AAP Delhi government’s flagship programme; who will do that now is unclear,” the AAP official said.

Inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in July 2018, the Happiness Curriculum focuses on meditation, moral teachings, and mental exercises, with the aim of turning students into “good human beings“ and is taught to all students of Delhi government schools from nursery to class VIII.

Though there was no official reaction from the Delhi government on the issue, a series of tweets by Mr. Sisodia indicated the AAP’s unhappiness over it.

He said “happiness class” is “the solution to all hate and narrow-mindedness”. “I am happy that Delhi govt. schools are showing a path to the world. And the world is curious to know what we are doing in happiness class,” he said.

Meanwhile, Expressing anguish over the exclusion of the names of the two leaders from the event, Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said it has been the “protocol” and the “convention” that State leaders are present when a foreign dignitary attends an event in their States.

He also said the names of Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia had been dropped from the guest list at the behest of the BJP-led Central government.

(With PTI inputs)

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