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Republic Day tableau controversy: How West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu allegations of ‘bias’ are baseless

Several states' tableau for the Republic Day parade were rejected, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.

The central government has dismissed state governments’ claims that the rejection of their tableau from the Republic Day Parade on Rajpath is politically motivated. The government refuted all of the CMs’ claims, asserting that the decision is made by a committee of non-political experts and that it should not be equated with regional pride.

“This is a wrong precedent, adopted by Chief Ministers of states to portray an outcome of an objective process as a flashpoint between the Centre and the states. This goes a long way in harming the country’s federal structure.” The sources from the central government are reported to have stated. They also stated that these chief ministers have perhaps “no positive agenda of their own that they have to resort to the same old trick using misinformation year after year”.

This comes after several states’ tableaus for the R-Day parade were rejected, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. All of the opposition states criticized the central government, alleging that everything had been intentionally done.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her anger and disappointment at the decision in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, emphasizing that the state’s tableau was rejected without explanation. Some politicians in Kerala have called it an “insult” from the national government. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin expressed his disappointment through a letter that the tableau of prominent liberation heroes from Tamil Nadu will not be featured in the procession.

The spat erupted again on Monday, with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin joining West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in pleading with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene immediately.

Selection process of Tableaux

The tableaux are not decided by the Central government. The Ministry of Defence appoints an expert panel consisting of prominent people from various fields like art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, dance, amongst others, for the selection.

Before making suggestions, the committee considers the topic, idea, design, and visual impact of the submissions. Only a few of the suggestions can be approved due to time restrictions. Out of the 56 proposals received from states and central ministries this year, 21 were selected for further consideration.

To say that Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are being treated unfairly would be incorrect as the same central government under Narendra Modi had accepted Kerala’s tableau proposals in 2018 and 2021. Similarly, Tamil Nadu’s tableaux were accepted in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021 and West Bengal’s designs were accepted in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2021.

Banerjee also accused the central government of disrespecting Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose for rejecting the state tableau. However, according to the sources cited by various publications, with this year’s tableau of the Central Public Works Department, which falls within the purview of the central government, incorporates Netaji as a topic. Hence, any question of his disrespect put up by the State government of Bengal does not even exist.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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