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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Arvind Kejriwal cancels Copenhagen visit as Centre sits on request

The ministry’s decision drew flak from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh questioning how MEA cleared West Bengal’s urban development minister Firhad Hakim for the same event.

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2019 23:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Officials in the chief minister’s office said  Kejriwal was scheduled to leave for Copenhagen at 2pm on Tuesday, but cancelled the trip.
Officials in the chief minister’s office said Kejriwal was scheduled to leave for Copenhagen at 2pm on Tuesday, but cancelled the trip. (HT image)
         

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was forced to cancel his scheduled visit to Denmark to attend the C40 Climate Summit after the ministry of external affairs (MEA) did not respond to a request for political clearance for the visit, the Delhi government said.

Officials in the chief minister’s office said Kejriwal was scheduled to leave for Copenhagen at 2pm on Tuesday, but cancelled the trip.

“There was absolutely no communication from MEA on the political clearance for the C-40 summit. The CM’s office did not even receive a ‘No’ from the ministry despite repeated attempts to communicate with them,” said a senior Delhi government official who asked not to be named.

MEA did not issue a statement on the matter on Tuesday.

The ministry’s decision drew flak from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh questioning how MEA cleared West Bengal’s urban development minister Firhad Hakim for the same event.

“Kejriwal was not going on a vacation or a personal visit. He was going there to present Delhi as a case study of how the mega city managed to reduce its air pollution by over 25% through schemes such as odd-even,” said Singh.

He added that the ministry’s decision would “affect India’s image on the global stage and send a wrong message in the international community”. “What will people think about how our federal structure works. Why is there so much anger against us?” he asked.

Kejriwal was to lead an eight-member delegation for the summit, slated to begin on October 9 and end on October 12.

Every minister or government official in the country has to take a political clearance from MEA for official tours abroad.

Last week, in response to media query over Kejriwal’s proposed visit to Denmark, MEA said a decision on such trips is taken based on multiple inputs.

“I do not answer query specific to political clearance. And if you understand how it functions, we get hundreds of requests for political clearances every month from ministries, secretaries, bureaucrats. A decision is based on multiple inputs,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said then.

“Some of the inputs we get from the mission and it takes into account the nature of the event where the person is going to participate. It takes into account the level of participation from other countries and also the kind of invitation that is extended,” he added.

In an official statement on September 22, the Delhi government said the chief minister was expected to speak at the summit on his government’s experience in lowering air pollution in the city and present the set of initiatives taken by the AAP dispensation that led to the 25% reduction in air pollution.

The C40 Cities website lists Kejriwal among the list of speakers. The website says, “The C40 World Mayors Summit, taking place in Copenhagen from 9-12 October 2019, will showcase examples of how cities are already delivering on their strong commitments and accelerate the bold climate solutions needed for a sustainable, healthier, resilient and inclusive future.”

“The 2019 Summit aims to build a global coalition of leading cities, businesses and citizens that rallies around the radical and ambitious climate action our planet needs.”

First Published: Oct 08, 2019 23:20 IST

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