Trump visit: Manmohan Singh to skip Kovind's banquet in US Prez's honour

Singh has conveyed his regret to the President's office for not being able to attend the banquet

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh will not attend the official banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind in honour of US President Donald Trump on February 25, sources said.

Singh had earlier accepted the invite but expressed his inability to attend the same on Monday.

He has conveyed his regret to the President's office for not being able to attend the banquet, sources close to Singh said.

The opposition Congress is peeved at the Modi government's move to not allow its top leaders a meeting with the visiting US president, as has been the tradition.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is also skipping the President's banquet in protest over the party's top leaders not being extended an invitation.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also expressed unhappiness over Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia being dropped from Melania Trump's scheduled visit to a Delhi government school on Tuesday. 

The US embassy on Sunday clarified that it was because the visit was not meant to be a political one.

"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 that the focus is on education, the school, and the students," said a US Embassy spokesperson.


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