The Centre’s denying permission to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his team to attend the C40 climate meet in Copenhagen this week is a blatantly political move, no matter how hard the external affairs ministry tries to justify it, saying it is only for mayors. This is just another in a series of disallowing trips abroad by AAP ministers, making clear a pattern of political bias. Ties between the Delhi government and the Centre haven’t been cordial, and the BJP seems to have little idea of how to tackle the Delhi CM except by confrontations, though it must be said the acerbic Mr Kejriwal is more of a political dissenter than the head of a state administration. Truth to tell, his party’s prospects of re-election in coming Assembly polls seem to have spooked the Centre.
The trip to the C40 climate summit was to present initiatives — including the quirky “odd-even” car curbs — that are said to have reduced air pollution by a fourth. Mr Kejriwal would have shared space with some of the world’s great metropolises like New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles and Berlin, and would have had the opportunity to speak at a meeting of Asian mayors on low carbon inclusive growth. As one of the world’s most polluted cities, New Delhi’s experience may have been a valuable guide to others on how to avoid the pitfalls. Such is the venom with which political clearance is denied that Delhi’s ministers have been unable to travel to summits to present the collective experience of a great city. How harmful would it have been for the world to listen to Delhi’s “happiness curriculum” in schools or mohalla clinics?