West Bengal did not figure in today's Republic Day celebrations. Even as the Mamata Banerjee government fumed at being ignored, sources say that the problem was that the tableaux did not portray a broader message. [Follow updates of Barack Obama's visit to India for R-Day]
It was a decision that was taken by the Defence Ministry which always oversees the various tableaux by various states. There is nothing personal about it and an issue is being raked up unnecessarily an official informed Oneindia.
What Bengal wanted to display:
Bengal has been harping about its Kanya Shree initiative. It considers this initiative to be path breaking in nature and hence wanted to depict the same at the Republic Day of which President of the United States of America, Barack Obama was part of.
TMC leader, Derek O'Brien in his tweets said that there were repeated requests made. He later told reporters that they were very sad and disappointed.
Bengal tableaux for Republic Day depicting path-breaking Kanya Shree initiative was not allowed. We repeatedly requested... Life goes on— Derek O'Brien (@quizderek) January 26, 2015
Many officials in Bengal also expressed their displeasure of the matter. The Kanya Shree is a welfare programme for the girld child. It is a path breaking initiative.
Tableaux of only 16 states of the Union were displayed at the R-Day parade
Probably the centre found it similar to their initiative (Beti Bachao Beti Padao) and hence it was not allowed to be part of the Republic Day parade, a West Bengal official said.
West Bengal was not singled out:
However, West Bengal is not the only state to be singled out. They are speaking about it without verifying their facts, a senior leader informed.
The defence ministry had clearly told them that a state tableau must have a broad message. When they say broad message they mean the culture of the state, its history and economy.
The Bengal tableau was just about one scheme and this is not permissible, the defence ministry also told the state officials.
The tableaux from Odisha, Kerala, Delhi, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, too, were rejected. If the TMC is saying that the centre is targeting non-BJP run states, then they are wrong.
The other states that were rejected are not BJP-run states. There is a tradition, culture attached to all this and decisions are taken on the basis of that.
We select on the basis of merit and not on the party running the government. Take the case of Karnataka. It is a Congress ruled state and they were not rejected. We want a broader message and not just focus on one scheme, an official also informed.