Expressing surprise, former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today claimed the Centre has not extended him an invite to attend the Republic Day celebrations.
Reacting to the issue, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said that no rules and regulations would be flouted but reminded that Kejriwal had threatened to hold protest during the celebrations last year.
Kejriwal, however, insisted that he never said that Republic Day should not be celebrated and he should have been invited if the protocol states it.
“I haven’t got any invitation. If protocol says it should be sent, then they should have sent it to me. If not, then they shouldn’t. There shouldn’t be any politics over it,” Kejriwal told reporters.
The former Delhi Chief Minister also clarified that he never made any remark that Republic Day should not be celebrated as being attributed to him by BJP.
“I never said we should not celebrate it (Republic Day),” he said.
AAP leader Ashutosh said Kejriwal was Chief Minister of Delhi and he should have been invited to the celebrations.
“He is not only the former CM but also the most popular leader of Delhi, a respected person and when he doesn’t get invitation, then there are doubts in peoples mind whether he was not invited due to political hatred,” he said.
Asked about the issue, Vardhan said he was not aware of it but added Centre was not going to flout any rules.
“I don’t think anybody in our government is going to flout these rules and regulations,” he said.
BJP Delhi Chief Satish Upadhyay felt Kejriwal did not deserve to be invited because of his “anarchist behaviour”.
Vardhan attacked Kejriwal over his reported comments about Republic Day celebrations last year during his protest at the Rajpath.
“I just want to make the entire nation aware of the fact that Arvind Kejriwal as the Chief Minister of Delhi was protesting on the same Rajpath last year and was asking people not to let the Republic Day celebrations take place and had proudly proclaimed himself to be an anarchist.
“He was the one who made this announcement. I think it is not right on his part to talk like this,” the minister added.
Reacting to the issue, Congress said honouring of traditions and its time was the responsibility of the government.
“Whether we belong to different parties or different political thought-process, a national day like 26th January belongs to each one of the 125 crore Indians. So to not invite former CM of Delhi is reflective of the petty mindset of BJP government,” Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
When asked about this, BJP Delhi Chief Satish Upadhyay said that he feels an “anarchist” like Kejriwal, who threatened to disturb the Republic Day function last year should not be present on such occasions.
“I am not aware whether he has been invited or not. But, I think he (Kejriwal) should not attend such functions…The man who did not even respect an occasion like Republic Day last year and threatened to sit on a dharna and disrupt the function, should he be present there in the first place,” he told reporters.
Asked if the protocol allowed for presence of former chief ministers on the grand occasion, he said, “the question we are raising here is a moral one and not technical.”
“As per protocols are concerned, I think you should go and and ask the defence department. But, morally, we are asking, is it right for him to attend the function after his anarchist behaviour last year on the very same occasion,” Upadhyay said.