Updated: January 19, 2022 4:13:50 am
DEFENCE MINISTER Rajnath Singh on Tuesday wrote separate letters to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, assuring them that selection of tableaux for Republic Day parade has been done according to prescribed norms and seeking to rule out any ulterior motive in tableaux from their states not getting picked this year.
This came in response to letters written by the Chief Ministers of the two Opposition-ruled states to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which they expressed disappointment over tableau from their respective states not being selected this year.
In his letters, Singh explained the selection process, and mentioned the previous years when tableaux from both states were selected.
In her letter to the Prime Minister on Sunday, Banerjee said she was “profoundly shocked and hurt by the decision of the Government of India to abruptly exclude the proposed tableau”. She said it was “even more baffling that the tableau was rejected without assigning any reason”.
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She said the proposed tableau was commemorating contributions of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary year, along with Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekanad and Birsa Munda among others. She said the “people of West Bengal are deeply pained by this attitude of the central government” and asked the Prime Minister to reconsider the decision.
On the reference to Bose, Singh wrote that his contribution in the freedom fight is “unforgettable” for every Indian. Keeping this sentiment in mind, the Prime Minister has announced Netaji’s birthday on January 23 as Parakram Diwas, he wrote, adding that the CPWD’s tableau this year pays tribute to him.
“Selection process for the tableaux in the Republic Day parade is very transparent,” Singh assured Banerjee.
Proposals received from states and Union Territories are selected after multiple rounds of evaluation by a committee of experts from the fields of culture, music, dance and arts. It was through this process that West Bengal’s tableaux participated in Republic Day parades in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020, he wrote.
“I respect your feelings and would like to personally inform you that out of the 29 proposals received from states/ Union Territories this year, 12 have been selected,” he wrote.
In the 75th year of Independence, Republic Day is special for the Centre and all states, Singh wrote to Banerjee, expressing hope that his letter would have resolved any suspicions she had, and expected her positive and important cooperation.
Singh also wrote to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin, explaining the “well-established system for selection” of tableaux.
“As per the time slot allotted for tableaux in the overall duration of the parade, short-listing of tableaux is done by the Expert Committee,” he wrote.
Tamil Nadu’s tableau proposal, Singh said, “was considered in the first three rounds of meetings” but after the third round, it could not make it to the final list of 12. He said the state’s tableaux were selected for Republic Day parades of 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
“In view of the above details, you would appreciate that the selection of tableaux is as per prescribed guidelines on the matter,” Singh wrote.
In his letter to the Prime Minister on Monday, Stalin called the decision to reject Tamil Nadu’s tableau “unacceptable”. Stating that he was “deeply disappointed to know that the state of Tamil Nadu has been deprived of the opportunity to participate”, he sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to include the tableau “that will showcase the freedom fighters of the state”.
“Exclusion of the tableau will deeply hurt the sentiments and patriotic feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu,” he wrote, adding that the committee rejected “all the seven designs shown to it as per the modification suggested by its members”, which is unacceptable.
Apart from letters written by Stalin and Banerjee over the past two days on the issue, Kerala officials have also said that their tableau was not selected because it featured Sree Narayan Guru, rejecting the Centre’s suggestion to include Adi Shankara.
This year, tableaux from Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been selected for the Republic Day parade.
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