Date for clearance lapses, Delhi CM’s Singapore visit off

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

With just one working day left to obtain clearance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Singapore to attend the World Cities Summit is all but cancelled.

This, according to sources, follows an “update” from the Government of Singapore, which in a communique to the Delhi government stated that the invite to the Delhi Chief Minister would be “allowed to lapse” since his acceptance for it had overshot the scheduled date of July 20.

The Delhi government blamed the Centre for India’s “humiliation” and “global disgrace” by intentionally delaying, through Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, the formalities related to the proposed trip which had become, on more than one recent occasion, a point of contention between the two.

Talking to the press, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Arindam Bagchi did not say if the objection from the Union government would ultimately prevent Mr. Kejriwal from participating in the event. He however, hinted that there had been a “change”.

“We received an entry on our political clearance portal on July 21. I am given to understand that the host government has shared certain updates and changes to its invitation with the Delhi government,” said Mr. Bagchi.

Officials indicated that there is very little time before the start of the event on July 31 and any more official coordination is unlikely on this matter in the brief period remaining.

Despite MEA’s tight-lipped approach it became obvious that Mr. Kejriwal would not participate in the event in Singapore as the website of the World Cities Summit had no mention of his name.

The response received by the Delhi government, according to sources, stated that the acceptance deadline of July 20 to speak at the plenary session of the summit – “Liveable & Sustainable Cities: Combating the Climate Crisis” – had lapsed. Hence the “non-transferable” invite to Mr. Kejriwal too had lapsed.

However, the Delhi Chief Minister was, according to the response, welcome to Singapore “on another occasion.” Mr. Kejriwal was scheduled to speak at the event on August 2 and 3.

The Delhi government, in a statement, alleged that the Central Government was solely responsible for Mr. Kejriwal not being able to attend the summit. “The file regarding clearance for the Chief Minister’s visit was sent to the LG on June 7. The LG sat on the file for one-and-a-half months and returned the file on July 21,” the statement said.

“By then the July 20 deadline to complete the travel formalities too had passed,” it added.

The statement said it was clear that the intention of the Central government “was to prevent” the Chief Minister from talking about the “world-class work” done in Delhi – including the transformation in the education and health sectors – at an international arena.

“The goal of the government may have been accomplished, but the Centre is also responsible for the way the country has faced disgrace amongst the global community,” the statement added.

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2022 10:23:22 pm |