Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday expressed his displeasure over the Centre’s delay in providing him clearance to attend the World Cities Summit, which will be held in Singapore from July 31 to August 3.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh attacked the Centre over the issue and said the country’s federal structure was being attacked continuously by the Union Government. “The powers of the State government are being curtailed and the authority of the Delhi Chief Minister is being undermined,” he said.
Mr. Kejriwal said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 7 seeking permission for the journey, but he hasn’t received a response yet. “I have been invited by the Government of Singapore to present the Delhi Model at the World Cities Summit. Prominent leaders from all over the world are coming to Singapore for this conference. The Delhi Model will be presented in front of them all. This will be a very proud moment for India,” Mr. Kejriwal said in his letter.
‘Put nation first’
He added that it was not right to stop a Chief Minister from visiting another county and it was against the interest of the country to not permit his participation at a meeting where the prominent leaders of the world will be in attendance.
“When you were the Chief Minister of Gujarat and America denied you a visa, the whole country criticised this move and supported you. Today, when your government is stopping a Chief Minister from attending such an important summit, it goes against the interests of the country,” the letter said.
Mr. Kejriwal urged the Prime Minister to set aside differences and expedite the process to grant him clearance to travel to Singapore. “We may have political differences within the country, but in front of the larger world, we should forget our differences and put only the interests of the country in front of us. I request you to allow me to go to Singapore at the earliest so that I can make our country proud.”
Reacting to Mr. Kejriwal’s letter, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said it was “surprising and shocking” to see the Chief Minister getting anxious over a visit to Singapore. “Mr. Kejriwal is one Chief Minister who does not hold a single portfolio and has made no direct contribution to Delhi’s development. Before writing a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Kejriwal should mention seven development projects taken up by his government in the last seven years of being in power,” he said.
‘Afraid of Delhi Model’
Sources in the Delhi government said Lieutenant-Governor V.K. Saxena has not yet approved the file on Mr. Kejriwal’s visit. Mr. Singh said he had taken up the issue at the all-party meeting held on Sunday ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
Later, at a press conference, Mr. Singh said “The Prime Minister is doing everything possible to save his ‘fake model’ from getting exposed at international forums. He has stooped so low that he is not allowing Mr. Kejriwal to go to Singapore. He is afraid of Mr. Kejriwal’s Delhi Model.”