Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was “deeply disappointed” that the Ministry of Defence rejected the state’s Republic Day tableau proposal.

The Tamil Nadu government had submitted a tableau showcasing the state’s renowned freedom fighters. “Exclusion of the tableau of Tamil Nadu will deeply hurt the sentiments and patriotic feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu,” Stalin said in his letter to the prime minister.

He sought Modi’s “urgent intervention” to have the tableau included in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.

Stalin said the state had chosen the theme “Tamil Nadu in the Freedom Struggle” in line with the Centre’s call.

He also claimed that representatives of the state had appeared before the expert committee for selection of tableaux thrice. In the first meeting itself, the chief minister added, that the expert committee was satisfied with the theme.

“The design had VO Chidambaranar [VOC], the famous freedom fighter who founded the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company in 1906 during Indian Independence movement to compete against the British,” the letter said. “VOC was charged with sedition by the British Government and sentenced to imprisonment.”

The design also featured the famed poet Subramania Bharathi, who was held in high esteem by Mahatma Gandhi, the chief minister stated.

He continued, “The rear of the tableau was designed to showcase a statue of Rani Velu Nachiyar riding a horse with a sword in hand and with women soldiers. She was the first Indian queen to wage a war with the East India Company in India. She was the queen of Sivagangai region from 1780 to 1790 and blew up an ammunition storage of East India Company by arranging a suicide attack.”

Stalin said Nachiyar is hailed as a brave woman.

He raised concerns that the expert committee did not call the state representatives for the fourth round of meeting for selection of tableau. “That the committee chooses to ignore and reject all the seven designs shown to it as per the modifications suggested by its members is unacceptable,” Stalin said.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister’s letter came a day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjeesaid she was “shocked and hurt” by the Centre’s decision to reject the state’s tableau. This is the fourth time since 2015 that the Centre has rejected the West Bengal government’s tableau for the Republic Day parade.

The defence ministry has also rejected the Kerala government’s Republic Day tableau proposal for the third time in the past four years.