It is a "wrong precedent adopted by the Chief Ministers of states to portray an outcome of an objective process as a flashpoint between the Centre and the states", central government sources said amid furore over the exclusion of Bengal and Tamil Nadu's tableaux from the upcoming Republic Day Parade and the Chief Ministers writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an intervention.
Accusing the states of "projecting" the exclusion as "an insult", the sources said, "We have recently seen letters being written by state Chief Ministers about the exclusion of their state's tableaux in the Republic Day Parade. This is unmistakably linked to regional pride and projected as an insult to the people of the state by the Central Government. This script also plays out almost every year.
"This is a wrong precedent, adopted by Chief Ministers of states to portray an outcome of an objective process as a flashpoint between the Centre and the states. This goes a long way in harming the country's federal structure."
The Chief Ministers "perhaps have no positive agenda of their own" and "they have to resort to the same old trick using misinformation year after year", they added.
Explaining the process of selection of tableaux for the R-Day Parade, the sources said, "First of all, it is not the Modi Government which decides on the tableaux. The tableaux proposals received from various states and central ministries are evaluated in a series of meetings of the Expert Committee comprising eminent people in the field of art, culture, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc. The Expert Committee examines the proposals on the basis of theme, concept, design and visual impact before making its recommendations."
The sources pinned the exclusions on "time constraints".
"Due to time constraints, only some of the proposals can be accepted. Of the 56 proposals received from the states, 21 have been shortlisted. It is natural for more proposals to be rejected than those accepted given the paucity of time."
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the omission of their states' tableaux and sought his intervention.
Excluding the tableau will deeply hurt the sentiments and patriotic feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin said.
"I have been profoundly shocked and hurt by the decision of the Government of India to abruptly exclude the proposed tableau of the Government of West Bengal from the ensuing Republic Day Parade," Ms Banerjee said in a two-page letter to PM Modi. The proposed tableau was to commemorate the contributions of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA on his 125th birth anniversary year, she said.
However, the sources countered her claim, saying, "This year's tableau of the CPWD includes Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. So the question of his insult does not even arise."
The tableaux of Bengal and Tamil Nadu have been accepted in the past "through the same process and system under the same Modi Government", they asserted.