The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday attacked the BJP-led Centre for “humiliating” its leader Arvind Kejriwal by not inviting him to the Republic Day parade and sending an invite to Kiran Bedi instead.
Bedi, who is BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Delhi assembly elections, slammed the charge and said the AAP leader was playing “sob sob”.
While Kejriwal, a former Delhi chief minister, was not invited for the celebrations on the Rajpath, Bedi was seen occupying a front row seat in the VIP enclosure.
“Kiran Bedi was seated in the front row while Arvind Kejriwal was humiliated and ridiculed. Republic Day belongs to India, not to BJP alone,” AAP leader Ashish Khetan tweeted.
With five days to go for the Republic Day parade last year, Kejriwal had sat on a 32-hour-long protest in front of Rail Bhavan in the heart of Delhi.
“Republic Day does not mean people enjoying a tableau; it means the rule of people. If the Centre does not agree to our demands by January 26, we will fill Rajpath with lakhs of people,” Kejriwal had said then.
BJP had used his statement last year to justify the decision of not to invite him this year.
“I think he is playing sob sob. I think he must grow up. Invitations come not when you desire. They come by something else but they are never demanded, they come by rules and regulations, by protocols, whatever it is,” Bedi, who had led the Delhi Police contingent in 1975 in the parade, told a TV channel.
Days ago, Kejriwal had expressed his displeasure over not being invited for the Republic Day parade. “I want to attend the celebrations, I don’t know why I wasn’t invited” he had told reporters.
The Delhi unit of Bharatiya Janata Party justified the invitation sent to Bedi to sit in VIP’s enclosure by saying, “It has been a trend that if the party is in power at the Centre, the office bearers of state unit are also invited. About 25 members of Delhi BJP were invited for the parade among whom state president Satsih Upadhyay and CM nominee Kiran Bedi were given VIP passes,” said a Delhi BJP spokesperson.
“A special invitation could have been extended to Kejriwal on his request. There is no precedent or protocol of inviting any former CM on one’s own volition. I think the AAP should stop making such remarks,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.