Kejriwal refuses to attend event after PM Modi’s photo added to banner

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refused to attend an event with Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Sunday, after the Delhi government event was allegedly “hijacked” on orders of PM Modi’s office by the police who put up Modi’s towering photos on stage and threatened to arrest anyone who removed them.

In photos posted by the AAP on Twitter, posters of Kejriwal were torn down, the police were seen clicking photos of the re-done decorations, and uniformed cops in large numbers were seen guarding the event.

The event titled Vanmahotsav was organised by the Environment and Forest department of the Delhi government. According to the event list, the L-G, the CM and Rai were supposed to attend.

“The CM and L-G had to attend the event together but it is very unfortunate that in this government programme, at the behest of the PMO, police were sent and were made to hijack the pandal and stage at the venue. On the stage, a banner with PM Modi’s photo was placed,” Environment Minister Gopal Rai said.

“People were told that if it is removed, action would be taken against them. As per the programme, the banner would be flashed on an LED screen and awareness programmes for children would be played following that. But a banner was placed on the LED. This is unfathomable,” he told the reporters.

A Delhi government official said to Indian Express that the final designs for the banners did not include the photo of the PM.

Rai said the incident showed that PM Modi is afraid of Kejriwal.

This is the latest face-off involving Saxena who took over in May and has already tried to block a Singapore visit by Kejriwal for a government event.

Sunday’s incident comes two days after the L-G recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, putting Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in-charge of the excise department, directly in the line of fire.