- Arvind Kejriwal to skip customary high tea at Rashtrapati Bhavan
- President's press secretary says Mr Kejriwal was invited but declined
- AAP says decision taken because Delhi MLAs weren't invited
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.
Just to refute some fake news. CM Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi has very much been invited to the President’s Aug 15 At Home. Card no. 49 was delivered and it’s reception confirmed by the CM’s protocol dept. The CM’s protocol dept told a caller from RB the CM would not be attending— Ashok Malik (@MalikAshok) August 14, 2018
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.
From 26 Jan & 15 Aug 2014 to 26 Jan 2017, I had got total 7 invitations from @rashtrapatibhvn till Kovind Ji became president in July 2017— Saurabh Bharadwaj (@Saurabh_MLAgk) August 14, 2018
How can staff of the First citizen of India, our respected President, Head of the Republic be engaged in petty politics at National Events
"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.