Kejriwal’s Singapore visit canned, govt lashes out

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will not attend the World Cities Summit in Singapore, with the approval for the visit not landing on time.

According to officials, the Singapore government wrote to the CM informing him that since he had not accepted the invitation by July 20, the invitation to be part of the summit had lapsed.

The Delhi government had sent a file for clearance to attend the event to L-G on June 7. On July 21, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said at a press conference that Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had returned Kejriwal’s proposal for the visit and that the government had then decided to seek political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs.

Responding to questions, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi Thursday said, “The Singapore government has shared an update with the Delhi government on the invitation extended to it. You can reach out to the Delhi government for more on it.” Bagchi also said the MEA had received a request for the Delhi Chief Minister’s political clearance on July 21.

Sources said that the Singapore government had written to the Delhi government on July 15, informing it that the deadline to accept the invitation was July 20. The Delhi government only wrote to the MEA on July 21.

On Thursday, the Delhi government said that the central government was responsible for Kejriwal not being able to attend the summit.

“Only the central government can be held responsible for CM Arvind Kejriwal not being able to attend the World Cities Summit in Singapore and the subsequent humiliation the country has had to face. The file regarding clearance for the Chief Minister’s visit was sent to the L-G on June 7 itself. The L-G sat on the file for one and a half months and returned the file on July 21.  By then, not only had there been a lot of delays, but the deadline to complete the travel formalities had also passed,” an official statement from the Delhi government said.

The Delhi government also accused the Centre of preventing Kejriwal from speaking about “world-class work done in Delhi, including the transformations in education and health in an international arena”.

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“The Centre is responsible for the way the country has faced disgrace amongst the global community,” the statement said.

The L-G, while returning the proposal, had said that the summit would cover different aspects of urban governance, which in the case of Delhi is addressed by civic bodies such as the MCD, NDMC and DDA, apart from the Delhi government.

Sources said that the L-G had called Kejriwal’s participation inappropriate, saying that the Delhi government did not have exclusive domain over the issues corresponding with the theme of the conference.



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