The Centre has rejected the Kerala’s government’s Republic Day tableau proposal for the second consecutive year, The News Minute reported on Friday. So far, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Bihar’s proposals have also been rejected by the Narendra Modi-led government.
Kerala’s proposed theme for the tableau was the state’s art and architecture, including the traditional art forms of Theyyam and Kalamandala.
Kerala has called the Centre’s decision politically motivated. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government had on Tuesday passed a resolution against the amended citizenship law in the state Assembly. Last month, the state had stopped all work connected to the National Population Register too. The chief minister has repeatedly expressed his disappointment with the amended legislation and refused to implement it.
Kerala Law Minister AK Balan attacked the Centre regarding the tableau. “I don’t understand why there is hatred towards all Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Chenda [drums],” he said. “Have you ever seen a Central government who is against federalism in our country, who attacks the Malayali and who gets into a frenzy when it hears Kerala? One of the leaders even asked if Malayalis have two horns. So this is indicating the present state of our country. Does this have any politics?”
He questioned why the government rejected a visual which aims to portray the cultural essence of Kerala. “We are not supposed to show backwater, elephant, boats, Mohiniattam or Kathakali,” Balan said. “What is this crazy situation we are going into?”
The law minister stated that the tableau was approved till the third stage of the selection process and rejected later. “Such a thing won’t happen with any political intervention,” Balan claimed. “Anyone with any aesthetic sense and who loves nature will not be able to do this.”
Balan claimed the move to reject the state’s proposal will lead to loss of whatever little support the saffron party has in Kerala.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi also criticised the various tableau exclusions for upcoming Republic Day celebrations. “India’s diversity, heritage, cultural soft power and essence can not be done justice to after exclusion of massive [area + population] states like Maharashtra, Bengal, Kerala, Delhi, Bihar and Haryana,” he tweeted. “A very large measure of autonomy and latitude has to be given to states to decide their tableaux.”
Twenty-two proposals comprising 16 states and union territories and six ministries/departments have been shortlisted for the parade. The committee shortlisted these from a total of 56 tableau proposals – 32 from states/Union Territories and 24 from various Central ministries and departments – received by the government.
The 16 states and UTs, whose tableau proposals have been accepted, include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
The decision to reject the Maharashtra government’s Republic Day tableau proposal sparked off a political controversy on Thursday. Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule accused the government of being vengeful towards Opposition-ruled states. The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal had also protested, saying such “cheap politics” will not deter them from opposing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s anti-people policies.