New Delhi/Chennai/Kolkata/Puducherry: The controversy that started after the tableaux of some states were not approved for the Republic Day parade has intensified. After West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin also demanded immediate intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, some leaders from non-Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, including Kerala, alleged that it was an insult by the Centre.
Rejecting the criticisms being made by those states for not selecting the tableaux of some states, sources in the central government said that this is a wrong practice and the tableaux are not selected by the central government, but an expert committee.
Central government sources said the proposals from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have been rejected by the subject expert committee after due process and deliberation.
A central government functionary said, “The method adopted by the Chief Ministers of the states to show the outcome of a subject-based process as the point of impasse between the Center and the states is wrong. This will cause long-term damage to the federal structure of the country.
He said that a total of 56 proposals were received from the states and central ministries, out of which 21 were selected. The officials also said that the same process of selection is followed every year.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin that the tableaux for the Republic Day parade this year have been selected as per the specified guidelines.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the non-inclusion of tableaux of their states, urging him to intervene.
In a letter written on Monday, Stalin said that the sensibilities and patriotism of the people of Tamil Nadu would be hurt by not including the tableaux.
Earlier, expressing surprise over the non-inclusion of the tableau of West Bengal, Banerjee had said that such steps would hurt the people of her state.
Terming it as a matter of grave concern to Tamil Nadu and its people, Stalin sought immediate intervention of the Prime Minister to make arrangements for the inclusion of the tableau of Tamil Nadu.
A day before this (January 16), Mamata Banerjee had expressed surprise over the Centre’s decision to drop the tableau of West Bengal on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary year and his contribution to the Azad Hind Fauj.
On January 16, he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to reconsider the decision.
The Chief Minister had said, ‘The proposed tableau commemorates the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the contribution of the Azad Hind Fauj and the great sons and daughters of this country, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, Sri Aurobindo, Matangini Hazra. It was made in the memory of Nazrul, Birsa Munda and many more patriots.
His party, the Trinamool Congress, has repeatedly and systematically accused the BJP-led central government of insulting their history, culture and pride.
It is to be known that even in the year 2020, the tableau of West Bengal was not allowed to participate in the Republic Day parade. Apart from Bengal, tableaux of Maharashtra, Kerala and Bihar were also not allowed.
The Congress has also expressed its disappointment over the development and its leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote a letter to Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on January 15.
Chowdhury said the decision was an “insult” to the people of West Bengal, its cultural heritage and Netaji Bose.
Many leaders of Kerala have also criticized the Centre.
But a central source said, “The subject has been linked to regional pride and is being displayed by the central government as an insult to the people of the state.” This is the story of every year.
Sources said that only a few proposals are accepted due to paucity of time. He said that it should be noted that Kerala’s proposal for the tableau was accepted in the Modi government in 2018 and 2021 under the same process.
Similarly, tableaux from Tamil Nadu were also included in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Similarly, tableaux of West Bengal were approved in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021, he added.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday that the tableaux for the Republic Day parade this year have been selected as per the specified guidelines. Rajnath Singh has also written a similar letter to Mamta Banerjee.
Stalin had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting his intervention if the proposal for the tableau of his state was not accepted.
In a letter to Stalin, the Defense Minister said Tamil Nadu’s proposal was considered in the first three rounds of meetings to select the tableau, but in the final list of 12 tableaux selected for the Republic Day parade this year. He didn’t get the place.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh writes a letter each to Mamata Banerjee and MK Stalin. This is on the tableau issue. pic.twitter.com/b0IJfmi8de
— Sanket Upadhyay (@sanket) January 18, 2022
“There is a well-established system of selection of tableaux for participation in the Republic Day parade, according to which the Defense Ministry invites proposals for tableaux from all the States/UTs and Central Ministries/Departments,” Singh said.
The Defense Minister said that the tableaux proposals received from several states, union territories, central ministries and departments are evaluated sequentially in the meetings of the expert committee. In this committee there are eminent people from the fields of art, culture, fine arts, sculpture, music, craftsmanship, dance etc.
“The expert committee assesses the proposal on the basis of theme, concept, design and visual impact and then gives recommendations,” he said.
Singh said a total of 29 proposals were received from states and union territories, including Tamil Nadu, for the Republic Day parade this year. He said that in the last few years, in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021, the tableau of Tamil Nadu was selected for the parade.
“In view of the above information, you will appreciate that the tableaux have been selected according to the specified guidelines,” he told Stalin.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s clarification
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has supported the government in this regard by tweeting on Monday.
In a tweet, he has said, ‘States, Ministries of Government of India and PSUs send proposals for Republic Day Parade every year. The duration of the parade is limited. An expert committee in the field of arts shortlists the proposals. This time the Government of India received 56 proposals, out of which 21 were shortlisted.
States, GoI ministries & PSUs send proposals for #RepublicDay tableaux every year.
The duration of Parade itself is limited.
An Expert Committee of eminences from the arts shortlist from those received.
For RD 2022, GoI received 56 proposals; 21 were shortlisted.
– Nirmala Sitharaman (nsitharaman) January 17, 2022
“The existing criteria and proposals for selection have been strictly followed. Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the tableau of Kerala in 2018 and 2021, Tamil Nadu in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 and West Bengal in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021 were selected.
Incidentally, this year the tableau of @CPWDGOV includes Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Stop seeing bad politics in a display that celebrates India.
– Nirmala Sitharaman (nsitharaman) January 17, 2022
Incidentally, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is included in the tableau of the Central Public Works Department this year. Stop seeing bad politics in a performance celebrating India.
On the other hand, senior BJP leader Tathagata Roy on Monday called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the tableau of West Bengal leader Subhas Chandra Bose to participate in the main Republic Day celebrations to be held in the national capital.
He made this request a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made a similar appeal to the Prime Minister.
Roy, however, clarified that his request to Modi should not be seen as an endorsement of the “petty politics” of the Trinamool Congress.
Quite a few seem exercised that I have appealed to the Prime Minister for inclusion of the West Bengal tableau on Republic Day. This is only to showcase the contribution of Netaji and the freedom fighters of undivided Bengal. Not to support TMC’s petty politics arenarendramodi
— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) January 17, 2022
Roy tweeted, ‘My appeal is to the Prime Minister to allow the tableau of West Bengal in the Republic Day celebrations. In this the works of Netaji have been shown.
Along with this, he has tagged Prime Minister Modi.
The former governor of Tripura said, “The Center for the first time started celebrating Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birthday as ‘Parakram Diwas’. Republic Day celebrations will now start from January 23 instead of January 24 every year, so don’t let any state government take credit for remembering Netaji.
Senior Congress leader V. Narayanasamy has hit out at the central government for not allowing a tableau related to social reformer Narayan Guru to be shown at the Republic Day celebrations in the national capital.
Narayanasamy, who is living in quarantine at home due to Corona infection, while addressing reporters on Monday through digital medium said that Narayan Guru was a great social reformer. The Kerala government had sought permission to display a tableau of this personality who raised voice against the caste system at the Republic Day celebrations.
“However, it is a matter of concern that the central government has refused permission to display his tableau,” he said. The government should reconsider its decision and allow the tableau of Narayan Guru to be shown in the Republic Day celebrations.
Former Puducherry Chief Minister Narayanasamy also slammed the central government for not allowing the Tamil Nadu government to show tableaux related to great freedom fighter VO Chidambaram (Kappalotia Tamizhan), national poet Subramania Bharathi and Maharani Velu Nachiyar.
He said that the previous government of Puducherry with Congress-DMK alliance had also requested to show tableaux of Aurobindo and Bharathiyar, but the central government did not accept it.
Senior Congress leader B. Ramnath Rai has also strongly criticized the Center for rejecting the tableau of saint and reformer Narayana Guru proposed by the Kerala government during the Republic Day parade.
Rai said the rejection of the tableau of the great visionary Narayan Guru by the central government for the Republic Day parade is “extremely condemnable”, news agency PTI reported.
He said that Narayan Guru was a great visionary, spiritual philosopher and social reformer, who fought against the injustice and social discrimination done by the caste system and the backward classes by the upper castes.
The Guru who preaches the principle of One Caste, One Religion, One God has thousands of followers and devotees. By rejecting a tableau on him, the Center has insulted the great visionary and his philosophy.
The former minister said the decision was “painful” and “unforgivable”. Rai said that when the Congress was in power in Karnataka, the state observed that Guru Jayanti was celebrated as a government program.
He said that denying the tableau on him by the Center is an insult to the great visionary, it cannot be tolerated.
(with input from news agency language)
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