Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will skip “At Home”, the customary high tea hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of Independence Day. Mr Kejriwal’s decision comes against the backdrop of the presidential palace pruning the list of invitees that has kept the national capital’s legislators out.
Responding to what he had called “some fake news”, the President’s Press Secretary Ashok Malik asserted that Mr Kejriwal had been invited to the President’s At home.
The card had been delivered and the chief minister’s protocol department had told a caller from Rashtrapati Bhavan that the chief minister would not be attending, Mr Malik tweeted, complete with a copy of the register with the acknowledgement. It was delivered and received on 26 July.
AAP lawmaker and party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj didn’t take up Mr Malik on this point, but asked why the practice of inviting the national capital’s legislators had been dispensed with.
“Sir, We MLAs of Delhi were always invited by all Presidents before Kovind Ji. After Kovind ji became President, 3 decade old tradition has been stopped,” Mr Bharadwaj tweeted, describing Rashtrapati Bhavan’s decision as a humiliation of the national capital’s legislators.
He said he had received seven invites from Rashtrapati Bhavan from 26 January 2014 onwards.
Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP has, on numerous occasions, accused the central government of attempting to humiliate AAP leaders at national events.
At a programme hosted by Delhi Lieutenant Governor, AAP had complained that the chief minister was told to show his invite and his official car stopped at the entrance while vehicles of senior officials were allowed to enter.
Back in 2015 when Delhi was under central rule, Mr Kejriwal had complained how he had not been invited to the Republic Day parade.