Kejriwal Govt's Happiness Classes To Be 'Observed' By Melania Trump, But Delhi CM Not Invited
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had earlier said that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia would not accompany First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, on her visit to a south Delhi school on Tuesday.
Delhi government sources had said that Kejriwal and Sisodia will not attend the event as their names were dropped from the guest list. According to the Times Of India report, the US embassy had communicated to the city administration that the names of the Delhi Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister did not feature in the list of invitees for the event. And it is peculiar that a foreign embassy sent this message to the Delhi government and not the Centre.
Melania, who is arriving in India on February 24 as part of President Donald Trump's official visit, will interact with students and observe a "happiness class".
Clarifying the point further, the US Embassy on February 23 said it did not object to the presence of the Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia during the first lady's visit to a Delhi government school on Monday, but at the same time appreciated their "recognition that it is not a political event".
"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.
According to the earlier schedule, Kejriwal and Sisodia were to welcome Melania at the school and brief her about the rationale behind the introduction of 'happiness classes' as well as Delhi government's overall reform initiatives in the education sector, Deccan Herald reported.
Expressing their distress over the exclusion of the two leaders from the event, Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said it had been a "protocol" and "convention" that state leaders are present when any foreign leaders attend any event in their states.
He also alleged that it was at the BJP's behest that the names of Kejriwal and Sisodia were dropped from the guest list.
The BJP has justified the action as an attempt to avoid any 'low-level politics. "Petty politics should not be played on important occasions. The Indian government doesn't influence the US on whom to invite and whom not to." spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
The Arvind Kejriwal government introduced the happiness curriculum in Delhi government schools in July 2018. The curriculum encourages students to participate in activities like storytelling, meditation and question and answer sessions. Every day children in classes I-VIII at Delhi government schools spend 45 minutes every day to attend "happiness classes".
Similarly, for nursery and kindergarten students, the classes are held twice a week.