The Delhi government said on Thursday, 28 July, that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had missed the deadline to participate in the 'World Cities' Summit' in Singapore as he had not been given clearance by the central government for weeks.
In a statement, the Delhi government stated that the formalities for Kejriwal's Singapore visit were to be completed by 20 July but Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena's response regarding the same came a day later on 21 July.
"The file regarding permission to travel was sent to the Lieutenant Governor on 7 June. The LG sat silent for about one-and-a-half months and returned the file on 21 July. By then, not only had there been a lot of delay, but the deadline till July 20 to complete the travel formalities had also passed," the statement read, as per NDTV.
It further said that the Centre's intention was to "prevent the chief minister from talking about the world-class work done in Delhi" at an international conference.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Arvind Kejriwal said:
"It would have been good if I could go and put forward my point and share with the world the work being done in India... I am not blaming anyone for it."
"I will attend the meeting with Delhi's Lieutenant Governor at 4pm today," the Chief Minister said.
"The central government's intention may have been fulfilled, but it also leads to a situation where the global community may look down upon the country," the statement read.
The Delhi government had earlier highlighted that the summit could be an opportunity to showcase the city on a global platform, which would enhance the prestige of India.
CM Kejriwal had been invited for the summit by the Singapore High Commission in June and was supposed to address it on 1 August.
The LG's response had stated, "This is the programme of the mayor, the Chief Minister should not go into it."
However, the clearance for the same was given on 21 July, after the deadline lapsed.
Kejriwal's Letter to PM Modi
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month, Kejriwal had said that it is "against national interest" to stop a chief minister "from visiting such a huge stage."
Explaining the importance of the summit, Kejriwal wrote that the former United States President Donald Trump had said that the entire world should witness Delhi's education system. The United Nations, too, had appreciated the 'Mohalla Clinics' in the city.
He also pointed out that when Modi was Gujarat's chief minister and the US had declined to give him an education visa, the entire country had stood by him.
The Aam Aadmi Party also raised this issue at the all-party meeting held ahead of the Monsoon Session in Parliament.
In 2019, the central government had not given permission to Kejriwal to attend a similar event, arguing that it was unbecoming for a chief minister to attend a conference for mayors. As a result, he had addressed the meet online.
(With inputs from NDTV and ANI.)