New Delhi: On January 1, the Centre had rejected tableaus of 13 states for the upcoming Republic Day parade.
Union Ministry of Defence shortlisted 22 tableaus out of 56 proposals for the Republic Day parade on January 26. Out of the shortlisted, 16 are state and union territories while six are Centre departments.
In a statement released by the Defence Ministry on the first day of 2020, it said, “Twenty-two proposals comprising 16 states, union territories and six ministries and departments have been shortlisted for the parade. The shortlist was compiled from as many as 56 tableau proposals — 32 from states and union territories and 24 from various ministries and departments.”
The rejected list of states includes West Bengal and Maharashtra among others, and the move has sparked a fresh controversy. The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government and Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra governments have cried foul.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry has provided a vague explanation for rejecting West Bengal’s tableau. “The Expert Committee examined West Bengal’s tableau proposal in two rounds of meeting. The committee decided not to take forward West Bengal government’s tableau proposal after deliberations in the second meeting,” it said.
The Ministry clarified, “It is pertinent to mention here that West Bengal’s tableau was shortlisted for participation in Republic Day Parade 2019 as an outcome of the same process,” the Defence Ministry clarified the reason of rejection.
According to sources, the Ministry rejected the three proposals/themes pitched by West Bengal government for Republic Day parade, because of its similarity with Central schemes that already exist.
One of them is ‘Kanyashree Prakalpa’, which is related to the development of a girl child. The initiative has been praised globally, but it is similar to Beti Bachao Beti Padao initiative launched by Modi government. This similarity led to the theme’s rejection, said sources in the MoD.
Another theme pitched by the Mamata government related to saving water, which is similar to Modi-government’s Jal Shakti Abhiyan. However, the West Bengal government is yet to get an official response from the concerned Ministry.
War of words between AITC and BJP
The MoD decision did not go down well with the Mamata Banerjee government as TMC MP, and national spokesperson Saugata Roy slammed Centre for its “discrimination”. “The rejection of the West Bengal tableau for Republic Day parade is discriminatory. It has been done because West Bengal has been opposing the Centre’s CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and the NRC (National Register of Citizens) plans,” Roy said.
On the other hand, West Bengal BJP president and MP Dilip Ghosh said that West Bengal government did not follow the rules, which led to the rejection of their tableau. The MP from West Bengal’s Medinipur noted, “The state government has not followed the rules. Other states have followed them, so their tableau proposals were accepted. TMC should stop doing politics on every issue.”
Meanwhile, NCP MP and daughter of veteran leader Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule also took a jab at the union government. “Centre is behaving in a prejudiced manner by rejecting tableau proposals of Maharashtra and Bengal for Republic Day parade,” Mrs Sule said.
Shiv Sena leader and spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, while hitting out at Modi government tweeted, “In 2018, Maharashtra won the best tableau, while suddenly in 2020 the state’s tableau is not fit enough for the parade? Isn’t selectively keeping West Bengal and Maharashtra out of this year’s Republic Day celebrations a clear case of bringing politics before the nation?”
Apart from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tripura are among others who could not make it to the fray.