Rajnath writes to Mamata, Stalin amid row over tableau rejections
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday wrote to the chief ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, assuring them the selection of tableaux for the Republic Day parade was based on a transparent process.
The minister wrote the letters after Mamata Banerjee and MK Stalin expressed disappointment over the Union government rejecting the tableaux of their respective states for the Republic Day celebrations, and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s immediate intervention in the matter.
In his letters, Singh wrote that the tableaux proposed by different states and Union territories are selected after several rounds of evaluation by a committee consisting of experts from the fields of arts, culture, music and dance.
“The tableaux of West Bengal were selected for the Republic Day parade following the same process in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021,” Singh wrote to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
Singh also said that he respected the CM’s sentiments and it was for this reason he wanted to personally inform her about the selection process. He added that of the tableaux proposals submitted by 29 states and UTs, 12 were finally approved.
West Bengal’s proposed tableau was to commemorate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian National Army on Bose’s 125th birth anniversary. The tableau would have carried portraits of Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Vivekananda, Chittaranjan Das, Sri Aurobindo, Matangini Hazra, Birsa Munda, Nazrul Islam, Banerjee had earlier written.
“Bengal was at the forefront of the Indian freedom struggle and paid heaviest price for the country’s Independence through the partition. People of West Bengal are deeply pained by this attitude of the central government,” Banerjee added.
A central government spokesperson on Monday said, “This year’s tableau of CPWD includes Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, so the question of his insult does not arise.”
In his letter to Banerjee, Singh highlighted the contribution of Bose to the freedom struggle and said that from this year, Republic Day celebrations will begin on January 23, the birth anniversary of the iconic freedom fighter, instead of January 24, and culminate on January 30.
In his letter to Stalin, the defence minister wrote, “This is also to bring to your kind information that during the last few years, the tableaux from Tamil Nadu has been selected for participation in the Republic Day Parade during 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021…You would appreciate that the selection of tableaux is as per the prescribed guidelines on the matter.”
Singh wrote that the expert committee examines the tableaux proposals on the basis of theme, concept, design and its visual impact before making its recommendations.
In a letter to the PM, Stalin had earlier said, “Excluding the tableau will deeply hurt the sentiments and patriotic feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu…That the expert committee chooses to ignore and reject all the seven designs shown to it as per the modifications suggested by its members is unacceptable.”
On January 13, Kerala chief minister Pinayari Vijayan also sought PM’s intervention after the state’s proposal for the tableau of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru and Jatayu Park monument was rejected and the Centre instead changed it to Adi Shankara, which the state rejected.