After LG veto, Kejriwal sends online request to MEA for foreign trip nod

| | NEW DELHI
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After LG veto, Kejriwal sends online request to MEA for foreign trip nod

Friday, 22 July 2022 | Staff Reporter | NEW DELHI

After LG veto, Kejriwal sends online request to MEA for foreign trip nod

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal   approached the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday for visiting Singapore  to attend the World Cities Summit hours after  Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena turned down his request seeking clearance for the travel. 

“I do not agree with the advice of the Lieutenant Governor,” said Kejriwal, adding  that if one goes by his logic, then the Prime Minister will also not be able to go anywhere”.

The AAP Government shared Kejriwal’s reply and the LG’s letter on Twitter on Thursday.  After the LG’s rejection, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said they will directly go to the MEA to seek clearance for Kejriwal.

Later in the evening, the MEA confirmed it has received  request for political clearance for Kejriwal’s visit to Singapore. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the “entry” for the clearance was made on the Ministry’s dedicated online portal that receives such requests.

“I was just informed that an entry has been made in the Ministry’s online portal. There is a system to request for

political clearance,” he said while replying to a question on the issue at his weekly media briefing.

In October 2019, Kejriwal wanted to visit Denmark to address a C-40 World Mayors’ Summit, but his request was turned down by the MEA saying his visit there as a speaker at a panel discussion did not commensurate with the level of participation from other countries. Earlier, rejecting the Delhi Chief Minister’s request to visit Singapore, the LG advised Kejriwal to not attend the World Cities Summit in Singapore next month since it is a conference of mayors and won’t be befitting for a Chief Minister to attend it.

“The subjects that are being deliberated in this conference cover different aspects of urban governance, which in the case of Delhi are addressed by diverse bodies ranging from the New Delhi Municipal Committee (NDMC), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in addition to the Delhi Government. The Delhi Government does not have exclusive domain over these issues corresponding with the theme of the conference. A WCS Smart Cities workshop is also being organised as a part of the summit. In Delhi, the Smart Cities Project is being anchored by the NDMC. In such a context, it is not advisable for a CM to be attending such a conference,” the LG said in his letter to Kejriwal.

Responding to the permission denial in a letter, Kejriwal wrote, “I humbly beg to differ with the advice of the LG. If the visit of each constitutional authority in our country were to be decided on the basis of what subjects fall within the jurisdiction of that authority, it would create a funny situation and practical logjam. Then the Prime Minister would not be able to go anywhere because in most of his visits, he also discusses subjects which fall in the State list and do not fall in his jurisdiction,” the letter added.

“It is a conference of Mayors, city leaders, knowledge experts etc. The Singapore Government has chosen to invite the CM of Delhi. It’s a matter of great pride that the Delhi model of governance, especially our work in education, health and power sector is being discussed and recognised the world over. The Singapore Government has invited me to present the Delhi model before the city leaders from the whole world. It is a matter of great pride for every patriotic Indian. All of us should celebrate it and do our best to facilitate this visit,” it said.

“Therefore,  I humbly differ with the advice of LG. We will go ahead with the visit. Kindly apply for political clearance from the Central Government,” Kejriwal wrote.

Meanwhile, Sisodia said Kejriwal will now seek approval from MEA for the same.

“While inviting Kejriwal, the High Commissioner of Singapore Simon Wong had stated — ‘your insights will enrich our discussion on how we can make our cities more sustainable and liveable’. Kejriwal just wanted to showcase Delhi on a global platform. He wanted to show how a city as big as Delhi managed to improve its health and education system while also offering revolutionary schemes such as free transport for women and free water and power’. But the LG has now returned the file advising Kejriwal not to attend the conference stating it is typically for mayors,” Sisodia said.

The Deputy CM said Kejriwal did not agree with the views of the LG and hence has decided to seek approval from the MEA.

Earlier, Kejriwal had written to Modi, expressing his discontent for not being allowed to go to Singapore. “Blocking a Chief Minister from attending such an event is against the interests of the nation. Kindly grant permission,” his letter to Modi read.

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