The Union government on Wednesday (January 1) rejected the West Bengal government’s tableau proposal for the Republic Day parade on the recommendation of an expert committee, which examined it in two rounds of meeting.
The move drew sharp reactions from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), which called the rejection an insult to the state, which has been protesting against the amended Citizenship Act (CAA).
The state BJP was quick to hit back at the TMC. It accused the state government of not properly following rules and procedure, which it said caused the rejection.
The Union Defence Ministry said, it received 32 tableau proposals from states and union territories and 24 from central ministries and departments. Out of the total 56, 22 proposals – 16 from states and Union Territories, and six from central ministries, have been short-listed for the parade.
A statement issued by the ministry said, “Out of these, 22 proposals, comprising 16 states/UTs and 6 ministries/departments, have finally been short-listed for participation in the Republic Day Parade 2020 after a series of five meetings.”
It further said, “The tableau proposal of the West Bengal government was not taken forward for further consideration by the Expert Committee after deliberations in the second meeting.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the tableau of the Government of West Bengal was short-listed for participation in the Republic Day Parade 2019 as an outcome of the same process,” it said.
There is a well-established system for selection of tableaus for participation in the Republic Day Parade. The Ministry of Defence invites proposals from all states, union territories, central ministries and departments. The proposals are then evaluated in a series of meetings of the Expert Committee comprising eminent persons in the fields of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc.
The Committee examines the proposals on the basis of theme, concept, design and its visual impact before making its recommendations, the statement said. Due to time constraints, only a limited number of tableau can be short-listed for participation in the parade. “The selection process in vogue, leads to participation of the best tableau in the parade,” the statement added.
West Bengal Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Tapas Roy accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of having a “vindictive attitude” against the state. “Just because West Bengal has been opposing anti- people policies of the BJP government, a step-motherly treatment is being meted out to the state. As we have opposed anti-people laws like CAA, the Centre has rejected our tableau proposal,” Roy told PTI.
This is not the first time that West Bengal’s tableau proposal has been rejected. There have been previous instances also, he said. “Such cheap politics wont deter us from opposing anti-people policies. The BJP has insulted the people of West Bengal and they would get a befitting reply for it in the near future,” Roy said.
Responding to the allegations, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the tableau was rejected as the state government didn’t properly follow the rules and procedure in submitting the proposal.
(With inputs from agencies)