Fact Check

Why Was Arvind Kejriwal Not Invited? A Look at Delhi Metro Protocol and Facts of Magenta Line

Delhi Metro

Discussing the inauguration of the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro, an editorial in The Indian Express criticises the Centre and Uttar Pradesh governments (that is, the BJP, which runs both) and particularly the DMRC for not inviting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the programme. As its headline says, it is a “Blot on metro”. The editorial was published on December 26, 2017.

In a similar vein, FirstPost chose to present this issue laden with political speculation. The article’s headline runs: “Arvind Kejriwal excluded from Magenta Line inauguration: Congress backing AAP hints at alignment ahead of 2019 election”.

The Claim

Although Mr Kejriwal himself has declined to comment on the matter, his party, the AAP, has apparently tried to take political mileage out of the issue. AAP leaders like Ashutosh and Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia appear to have been looking for motives behind the non-invitation to the Delhi CM. They talk about the BJP being scared of the fare hike issue being raised, that the BJP is “narrow minded”, that not inviting the CM was an insult to the people of Delhi, etc.

The Protocol

It is rather surprising that The Indian Express editorial chose to ignore what has been mentioned in the paper’s own news report in making its assertions.

E. Sreedharan, the former chief of the Delhi Metro, who has been cited and venerated by The Indian Express editorial in question, has said the following in the report of the same publication:

“Whenever the DMRC organised inauguration of a new line, the Delhi CM was always invited because the Delhi government is 50% owner of the DMRC. But when the function is organised by the state governments, we never invited the Delhi government”.

Thus, none other than Mr Sreedharan, whose name has been invoked by the editorial to talk about how professional and efficient the DMRC was under him and also to criticise the non-invitation to the Delhi CM for the inauguration on December 25, has unequivocally laid out the protocol that was followed even in his day.

The Programme

The invite list was drawn up by the Uttar Pradesh state government. The event was organised by the Noida Authority and only the Noida end of the route was inaugurated on December 25. Thus, there was perhaps no need for the involvement of Delhi authorities in the matter at all?

Moreover, Avanish Awasthi, Principal Secretary to UP CM Yogi Adityanath, has also been quoted in the public domain on the above reason for the Delhi CM not being invited.

A Party Programme?

Even the editorial in question has not been able to counter the reasons put forward by the DMRC with regard to the arrangements of the inauguration programme. But it argues that those reasons are purely technical and territorial.

Well, all governments and official bodies run on some technicality and territorial limitations. The question that needs to be asked is whether it was or turned into “a BJP programme” or not as the editorial and the other article in question imply.

Again, according to the report in The Indian Express itself, the Delhi BJP cadre, too, was not invited to the launch. So the assumption that it was, or became, political would appear to be unfounded by what the media itself has reported.

In conclusion, it needs to be noted that there are other sections of the same Magenta Line due for opening later, which will run within Delhi. Surely, the Delhi CM and his party can wait and see what happens then? For now, it appears that protocol has been followed and not violated at all.

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  • Suryanarayan Sury

    petty minded politicians and stupid media and newspapers