Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday wrote to the chief ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu explaining why the states’ proposed tableaux for the Republic Day parade were rejected, India Today reported.

Both the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing disappointment that their states’ tableaux were not included for the parade in New Delhi.

The defence minister said in the letter to the West Bengal chief minister that the state’s tableaux had been included in the parades in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021. Similarly, he told the Tamil Nadu chief minister that the state’s tableaux were a part of the parades in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Singh noted that only 12 out of 29 tableaux were approved for this year’s celebrations.

Banerjee had said that West Bengal’s tableau was meant for commemorating the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose. In response, Singh said that the government has decided to begin Republic Day celebrations from January 23 this year to mark Bose’s contribution.

Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary is on January 23.

“I would like to assure you that the selection procedure of the Republic Day tableaux is very transparent,” Singh told Banerjee in his letter, according to ANI.

The defence minister noted that the government had carried out grand celebrations to commemorate 75 years of the formation of a Provisional Government of Free India in 1943.

In the letter to Stalin, Singh said that the state’s tableau made it through three rounds of selection, but could not make it to the final list.

“As per the time slot allotted for tableaux in the overall duration of the parade, shortlisting of tableaux is done by the Expert Committee,” the defence minister noted. “For RDP [Republic Day Parade] 2022, a total of 29 proposals were received from States/UTs, including the proposal from the State of Tamil Nadu.”

Stalin had said on Monday in the letter to Modi that he was “deeply disappointed” that the Ministry of Defence rejected the state’s Republic Day tableau proposal.

“Exclusion of the tableau of Tamil Nadu will deeply hurt the sentiments and patriotic feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu,” the chief minister added. Stalin had said that the state had chosen the theme “Tamil Nadu in the Freedom Struggle” in line with the Centre’s call.

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