New Delhi, September 9
Ahead of President of Bharat Droupadi Murmu’s State Dinner for G20 heads of state and top delegates on Saturday, politics continued to rage over the event with the Centre having to rebut claims made by two chief ministers of Congress-ruled states who would be skipping the key event.
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesg Baghel both blamed lack of permissions to travel by air as a reason.
Chief Minister Gehlot has claimed denial of approval for his helicopter flight by the MHA. Four requests were received from the Rajasthan CM for flight permissions, including for Sikar, and all were approved by the MHA. No request from the Rajasthan CM has been denied. While all scheduled flights of commercial aircraft and movement of Governors and state Chief Ministers on their State aircrafts are allowed, private chartered flights require specific MHA approval,” spokesperson of the Union Home Ministry said.
In a similar clarification, the MHA said Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel expressed his inability to participate in G20 Dinner at the Leaders’ Summit in Delhi on 9 September due to air restrictions in and around Delhi. “MHA has clarified to the State that while a high-tech security air cover has been deployed for the G20 Leaders’ Summit at Delhi on 8-11 September 2023, movement of Governors and state Chief Ministers on their State aircrafts are allowed,” the Ministry spokesperson said, as CMs of Congress-ruled states cited excuses to skip the dinner.
The developments came hours after former Union Minister P Chidambaram lamented the absence of invitation for the event to the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge.
“I cannot imagine any other democratic country’s government not inviting the recognised Leader of Opposition to a state dinner for world leaders. This can happen only in countries where there is no democracy or no Opposition. I hope India, that is Bharat, has not reached a stage where democracy and the Opposition will cease to exist,” Chidambaram said earlier today.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi yesterday said not inviting Kharge to the G20 Dinner was equal to BJP not valuing 60% of India’s population.
“How is that an argument?” asked BJP national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill.
Shergill said the Congress got 19.5 % vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha election so how can they represent 60% of the population?
“Former PM HD Deve Gowda, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin have been invited. Are they not the voice of the Opposition? Also, former PM Manmohan Singh, sitting CMs Bhupesh Baghel, Ashok Gehlot and Sukhvinder Sukhu have been invited? Are they not the voice of the Congress?” asked Shergill.
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