Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday defended the Centre’s decision to deny permission to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to attend a climate summit in Denmark. He said that the summit was meant for mayor-level participants.
"This is a mayor-level conference and a Bengal minister is going to participate in it," Javadekar told reporters.
He added that there is a separate protocol when political functionaries like Chief Ministers are invited and categorically rejected suggestions that opposition parties were being targeted.
Kejriwal was to travel to Denmark in an eight-member delegation for a climate summit in Copenhagen. However, the Ministry of External Affairs did not clear Kejriwal’s travel but granted permission to West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim.
The MEA said that Kejriwal was advised not to attend the World Mayors’ Summit as his visit there as a speaker at a panel discussion does not commensurate with the level of participation from other countries.
"A considered decision on political clearance by the Ministry of External Affairs is based on multiple inputs and takes into account the nature of the event, the level of participation by other countries, type of invitation extended, etc," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), however, termed it a ‘very lame excuse’ and an insult to the people of Delhi. Party MP Sanjay Singh said that the AAP leaders will raise the issue in upcoming assembly elections.
"Election is coming and the AAP will take this issue of not granting us permission to present our good work to the world to the people of Delhi. We will expose the ill-motive and mindset of the BJP," he said.
He claimed that late Congress leader Sheila Dikshit had participated in the climate summit as CM of Delhi. "It is a very lame excuse," he said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi unit of BJP took a swipe at Kejriwal, saying the country has been saved from embarrassment.
"The people of Delhi want to know whether he (Kejriwal) is a chief minister or the mayor. The CM himself tried to replace the mayor of Delhi for this visit," Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said.