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Melania visit: No objection to Delhi CM’s presence, says US Embassy spokesperson

First Lady Melania Trump addresses during an event in Florida. File

First Lady Melania Trump addresses during an event in Florida. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

U.S. Embassy clarifies on First Lady’s visit to a Delhi government school

On the eve of U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s arrival in the Capital, the U.S. Embassy said it had “no objection” to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s presence at a Delhi government school, which the First Lady is scheduled to visit here on Tuesday.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson further said that the Embassy appreciates their “recognition” that it was “not a political event,” with a specific focus on children. According to PMO sources, no Chief Minister is part of the Trump visit.

While the Gujarat Chief Minister is not part of the roadshow, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is not part of the Taj visit. Besides, PMO sources said, the matter was the prerogative of the U.S. Embassy.

‘Big appreciation’

The Delhi government, in an official response issued on Sunday evening, termed the First Lady’s visit to a Delhi government school a matter of “big appreciation” and said it respected “concerns” expressed by the U.S. Embassy regarding the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister accompanying her.

“While the U.S. embassy had no objection to the presence of the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, we appreciate their recognition that this is not a political event and that it is best to ensure the focus is on education, the school, and the students,” a U.S. Embassy spokesperson in New Delhi said.

According to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government officials, the U.S. Embassy had, on Thursday, reached out to them with regard to the First Lady’s wish to see the flagship ‘Happiness Curriculum’ in practice at a city school on Tuesday and was to convey the schedule regarding it on Saturday only to be told that neither the Chief Minister nor the Deputy Chief Minister would be part of the delegation receiving her.

Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia, in his capacity as the Education Minister, were to be part of the event and scheduled to make a presentation on the initiative, which was launched by the Dalai Lama in July 2018, to the First Lady.

“It is a matter of great pride for the Delhi government, Delhi government teachers and students that honourable first lady Mrs. Melania Trump is visiting a Delhi Government school. It is a big appreciation for us that the work of AAP government in education sector, especially Happiness classes, is being recognised in the world,” Mr. Sisodia said in an official statement.

Moral teachings

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.

The Chief Minister and the Education Minister, the statement said further, “would have loved to personally receive” the First Lady at the Dehi government school and brief her about the concept of Happiness Classes and the “positive impact that it has had on students, during her visit to the classrooms.”

“However, certain concerns were expressed by the U.S. Embassy regarding Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister accompanying the honourable first lady during the school visit. We respect the same. We welcome honourable first lady wholeheartedly and will do our best to facilitate the tour,” the statement added.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:45:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/melania-visit-no-objection-to-delhi-cms-presence-says-us-embassy-spokesperson/article30898229.ece

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