Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart M K Stalin, asserting that decisions to select tableaux for the Republic Day parade are taken as per detailed guidelines and seeking their participation in the grand event.
The letters come amid a political row over the rejection of tableau proposals from the two states. While the Bengal's entry showcased the contribution of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army to the Independence movement, the design submitted by Tamil Nadu featured prominent freedom fighters such as V O Chidambaranar.
In his letter to Ms Banerjee, the Defence Minister underlined that the Narendra Modi government holds Netaji in high regard and observes his birth anniversary, January 23, as 'Parakram Diwas'. He also said that from now on, Republic Day celebrations will begin with his birth anniversary and conclude on January 30.
Mr Singh went on to add that the process to select tableaux for the Republic Day parade is transparent and follows set guidelines. A committee comprising personalities from the spheres of art, culture, music and dance examines design proposals sent in by the states and decides on which ones to be selected, he said in his letter.
Mr Singh added that this year 12 design proposals have been cleared out of entries sent in by 29 states and Union Territories.
To drive home his point, he said that the tableau of the Central Public Works Department also pays respects to Netaji on his 125th birth anniversary.
Signing off, the Defence Minister hoped that his letter would address Bengal's concerns and invited the state government to join the Republic Day celebrations.
In the letter to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr Singh again stressed that selection of tableaux is done as per the laid-out guidelines and added that while the state's design cleared the first three rounds of meetings, it could not make it to the final list of 12 selected tableaux.