Updated January 1st, 2024 at 00:13 IST
'Baseless': Modi govt on CM Mann's criticism for excluding Punjab tableau from R-Day parade
The Central Government said that the tableau of Punjab was shortlisted for the Republic Day Parade from 2017 to 2022, six times in the last eight years.
Chandigarh: The Centre on Sunday rejected as "baseless" Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann's criticism of the BJP-led government for not including the state's tableau in the Republic Day parade 2024 and his allegations of discrimination.
The AAP leader recently attacked the central government for allegedly discriminating against Punjab and said that both Punjab and Delhi were excluded from the list of states whose tableaux have been selected for the parade on January 26.
In its response, the Ministry of Defence issued a statement saying tableaux proposals from states and Union territories and central ministries or departments are evaluated by an "expert committee" comprising eminent persons in the fields of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture and choreography among others.
"The tableau proposal of Punjab was considered in first three rounds of meeting of the Expert Committee. After the third round of meeting, the tableau of Punjab could not be taken forward by the Expert Committee for further consideration for not aligning to the broader themes of this year's tableau," it said.
The defence ministry also said that states and UTs not selected for the Republic Day parade 2024 were being invited to showcase their tableaux in Bharat Parv at the Red Fort from January 23-31 in accordance with an MoU signed with the states and UTs.
However, Mann categorically stated that Punjab would not showcase its tableaux in Bharat Parv. In a post in Punjabi on 'X', Mann said the state's tableau, which was to showcase the sacrifices made by freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and Lala Lajpat Rai, will not be sent to 'rejected categories'.
The defence ministry further said that due to the time allotted for tableaux in the overall duration of the parade, shortlisting is done by the expert committee to ensure the participation of the best ones.
For the Republic Day parade 2024, 30 states and UTs had shown willingness to participate, including Punjab and West Bengal, it said.
"Out of these 30 States/UTs, like every year, only 15-16 States/UTs will be finally selected to present their tableaux in the Republic Day Parade 2024," the statement added.
The statement further stated that as per the MoU Punjab and Delhi have signed with the government of India, states have agreed to display their tableau in the Republic Day parade in one of the three years starting from January 26, 2024.
"Hence their criticism of not being selected this year (2024) is not objective and unfounded," it said.
The ministry added that the tableau of Punjab was shortlisted for the Republic Day Parade from 2017 to 2022, six times in the last eight years.
"As states have to be treated equally, it is essential that states should be given the opportunity to display their tableaus as per a formula. Government of India is preparing a three-year programme covering all states/UTs which will be shared with all the States/UTs. Hence, the criticism by these states is baseless," it asserted.
The defence ministry also referred to West Bengal in the statement.
"The tableau proposal of West Bengal was considered in first two rounds of meeting of the Expert Committee. After the second round of meeting, the tableau of West Bengal could not be taken forward by the Expert Committee for further consideration for not aligning to the broader themes of this year's tableau," it said.
The statement added that West Bengal's tableau was shortlisted in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023 – five times in the last eight years. PTI SUN VSD IJT IJT
Published January 1st, 2024 at 00:13 IST