Delhi Assembly silver jubilee celebrations: LK Advani turns down invitation to be chief guest days after accepting it

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Updated: December 13, 2018 4:26:34 PM

Former deputy Prime Minister and BJP veteran LK Advani had earlier written to the Delhi Assembly Speaker, confirming that he will attend the ceremony and address the house.

The Delhi Assembly Speaker had earlier announced that BJP veteran leader LK Advani had agreed to grace the occasion as the chief guest.

Former deputy Prime Minister and senior BJP leader LK Advani will not attend the silver jubilee celebrations of the Delhi Assembly scheduled on December 15. In his absence, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be the chief guest while his deputy Manish Sisodia will be the guest of honour at the celebrations, The Indian Express reported.

Although Advani had earlier confirmed his presence in the ceremony and given his assent to address the House, he wrote a letter to Vidhan Sabha speaker Ram Niwas Goel on December 11 expressing his regret for not attending the celebrations. On Monday, the Speaker had announced that Advani had agreed to grace the occasion as the chief guest.

The senior BJP leader’s decision to attend the silver jubilee celebrations sparked a controversy with the party’s Delhi president Manoj Tiwari accusing Arvind Kejriwal of having a negative outlook and remarked that Advani may succeed in ending “negativity” of the AAP dispensation.

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Overruling the objections of BJP leaders in the matter, Tiwari said that Advani should join the function as he may succeed in ending “negativity” of the AAP dispensation. “Kejriwal’s outlook is negative. I know, he has not invited Advani with a positive mindset but still he should go there,” Tiwari said.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP share a bitter relation over a host of issues. The two sides have traded barbs on many occasions, most recently on the inauguration of Signature Bridge and an attack on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi secretariat.

The Speaker, however, ruled out political significance behind choosing Advani as the chief guest. Goel told The Indian Express that he was one of the seniormost and among the most experienced politicians today. Moreover, Advani, one of the co-founders of the BJP, was the first chairman of the erstwhile Delhi Metropolitan Council between 1966-70, he said.

What is Delhi Vidhan Sabha celebration all about?
The Delhi Metropolitan Council governed the national capital before the Delhi Assembly came into being in 1993, following the enactment of the Government of National Capital Territory Act. The Delhi Vidhan Sabha had its first sitting on December 14, 1993.

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Goel also reached out to other leaders, including Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi and senior BJP leader Vijay Malhotra, who were part of either the Metropolitan Council or the Assembly. Though Mukhi will be in Delhi on Saturday, he will not attend the function, sources told IE.

Prominent faces among other invitees include former Delhi chief ministers Sheila Dikshit, who was the Delhi CM for 15 years from 1998 to 2013, and current Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was CM for a short period in 1998. However, there was no clarity on whether they will attend the ceremony.

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