The NDA government has rejected proposals by several Opposition-ruled states to present their tableaux at the Republic Day parade where US President Barack Obama is the chief guest.
While West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala, Odisha and Tamil Nadu won’t have a tableau this year, Uttar Pradesh seems to be the only major non-NDA state to have got its wish.
Still smarting from the snub it received at the recently-concluded Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Ahmedabad, the Akhilesh Yadav government seems determined to use the R-Dday parade to play the secularism card.
While majority of the Modi government tableaux are designed around the Prime Minister’s pet developmental themes of Swacch Bharat and Make in India, the UP government has chosen to honour Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the tenth and last nawab of Awadh (present day Uttar Pradesh). The UP tableau would also showcase the Kathak dance form, sending a political message with a focus on the state’s composite culture. Wajid Ali Shah is known as a promoter of the ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’ (culture of communal harmony) and is also credited with the revival of Kathak.
The tableau’s theme assumes significance in the backdrop of the ghar wapsi events conducted by RSS-affiliated groups in Uttar Pradesh, and certain controversial statements by BJP MPs.
While Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal had proposed to work around the state’s ‘Kanya Shree’ initiative which offers welfare schemes for girls, Jitan Ram Manjhi had chosen mathematician Aryabhatt as the icon of the Bihar tableau. Both proposals were rejected by the defence ministry.
At the parade, the railways tableau will be centered on India’s plans to switch to high-speed rail, while the defence tableau will have indigenisation as its theme.
Each year ahead of the January 26 parade, all the states and major ministries send in their proposals for a tableau to the Centre but only some are approved.
(Inputs from Jayanth Jacob)