Not a Political Event, Says US Embassy after Arvind Kejriwal & Manish Sisodia ‘Dropped’ from Accompanying Melania Trump to Delhi School


New Delhi: The United States Embassy on Sunday said while it has no objection to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia accompanying First Lady Ivanka Trump on her visit to a Delhi government school, it should not be seen as a political event.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sources had earlier said that Kejriwal and Sisodia would not accompany Melania Trump on her visit to the south Delhi school on Tuesday. 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”.

It was earlier reported that Kejriwal and Sisodia would give Melania a tour of the school and brief her about the unique “happiness curriculum” introduced by the AAP government, which romped home to a majority for the second time this month.

“While the US embassy had no objection to the presence of the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, we appreciate their recognition that this is not a political event and that it is best to ensure the focus is on education, the school, and the students,” said a US Embassy spokesperson on Sunday.

While neither the BJP nor the AAP has so far issued an official statement on the reasons behind Kejriwal and Sisodia being dropped from the visit, the saffron party had said the issue must not be politicised. “We just want to say that we should not do petty politics on this… We don’t influence the US on who to invite or not,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had said.

Sisodia on Sunday said along with Kejriwal, he would have “loved to personally receive the First Lady in the Dehi government school and brief her about the concept of Happiness Classes and the positive impact it has had on students”.

“However, certain concerns were expressed by the US embassy regarding the CM and Deputy CM accompanying the First Lady during the school visit. We respect the same,” Sisodia said in a statement. “We welcome the First Lady wholeheartedly and will do our best to facilitate the tour.”

Introduced by the Delhi government in July 2018, the curriculum dictates that students studying in classes 1-8 at Delhi government schools have to spend 45 minutes each day to attend “Happiness Classes” where they participate in exercises such as storytelling, meditation and question and answer sessions. Similarly, for nursery and KG students, the classes are held twice a week.

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