With the controversy arising out of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM and Education Minister Manish Sisodia not be accompanying US First Lady Melania Trump on her visit to a Delhi government school on Tuesday to watch the “happiness curriculum, ” the US embassy on Sunday said, it did not have any objection to the presence of AAP leaders, but stressed that it was not a political event and the intention was to focus on education and students.
“While US Embassy had no objection to the presence of CM and Deputy CM, we appreciate their recognition that this isn’t a political event and that it’s best to ensure focus is on education, school, and students,” a spokesperson in the US embassy said following a media query on the issue.
The US embassy clarification came after Delhi government sources had said on Saturday Kejriwal and Sisodia will not attend the event as their names were dropped from the guest list. Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party blamed the BJP-led Centre for it.
After the US embassy’s reaction, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that they respected the concerns raised by the US Embassy and the First Lady’s visit is a matter of pride for his government.
Melania, the first lady, is scheduled to visit the school on Tuesday to watch “happiness classes” and interact with the students.
According to the original schedule, Kejriwal and Sisodia were to welcome Melania at the school and brief her about rationale behind the introduction of happiness classes as well as the Delhi government’s overall reform initiatives in the education sector, officials in the city had said.
Taking on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre, AAP’s National Executive member Preeti Sharma Menon in a tweet responded to the media reports.
She said: “There is no match for the pettiness of Narendra Modi. You may not invite Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, but their work speaks for them.”
However, AAP Minister Gopal Rai during a press conference said that he has no knowledge of the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister being dropped from the guest list of Melania Trump visit to a government school.
“We have not received any official information on the same. And till the time we don’t receive any official information regarding the same, we are not in a position to comment on it,” Rai said.
Meanwhile, reacting on the comments of AAP on the matter, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “petty politics should not be played on important occasions”.
“Indian government doesn’t advise the USA to whom to invite and whom to not. So, we don’t want to get into this ‘tu tu main main’ (squabbling),” he said.
US President Donald Trump is about to reach India today and land in Ahmedabad in just a few hours, and stay till tomorrow.
The US first couple will spend the first day of the trip in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad and Uttar Pradesh’s Agra before moving to Delhi for official reception and bilateral talks.
In Ahmedabad, President Trump will address the ‘Namaste Trump’ event jointly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the newly built Motera cricket stadium. After the event, the US President and the First Lady will visit Agra, where they will spend about an hour at the Taj Mahal before the sunset. President Trump will then depart for Delhi.
Tomorrow morning, Trump and the First Lady will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
From there, they will go to Rajghat to pay homage at the ‘samadhi’ of Mahatma Gandhi.
It will be followed by restricted and delegation-level talks between Trump and Modi at Hyderabad House.
Prime Minister Modi will host a lunch for the US president following the talks.
In the afternoon, Trump is expected to attend certain private events at the US Embassy, including a private roundtable with industry representatives.
In the evening, the US president will meet President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
A banquet will be hosted by Kovind and President Trump will depart from India later that evening.
This is Donald Trump’s first state visit to India and also a first standalone visit by a US President to India.