The Department of Information and Public Relations wins the prize for best tableau

The 63rd Republic Day in the State was on Thursday marked by the unfurling of the tricolour, ceremonial march past and cultural programmes presented by school and college students as well as by groups of folk artists.

At 8 a.m., Governor K. Rosaiah hoisted the flag near the Gandhi statue on the Marina in the presence of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and other dignitaries.

The ceremonial march past had 44 contingents, including those of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Railway Protection Force, Tamil Nadu Special Police, Coastal Security Group, City Police Band, Mounted Police, Commando Force, Fire Service Band, Nilgiris, Home Guards, National Cadet Corps, Bharat Scouts, Road Safety Patrol, ex-servicemen, Agarsen College and St. Vincent Matric Higher Secondary School.

Students of Jaigopal Garodia Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Virugambakam; Chennai Girls Higher Secondary School, Saidapet; Children's Garden HSS, Mylapore; GRT Matric HSS, Ashok Nagar; Gurusree Shanthi Vijay Jain College, Vepery and Ethiraj and Bharathi Colleges for Women presented cultural programmes.

The different forms of folk dances – Songi Mukhawate of Maharashtra, Gangaur of Madhya Pradesh, Thappattagullu of Andhra Pradesh and Kai Silambattam of Tamil Nadu - drew rapt attention of the audience. The South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur and the State Information and Public Relations Department organised the performance of the artists.

Nearly 20 departments of the State governments took part in the procession of tableaux.

The Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) won the first prize; the Police Department, the second prize and the Departments of Fisheries and Horticulture, the third. The tableau of the DIPR displayed photographs of the Chief Minister with leaders and prominent personalities, such as Lal Bahadur Shastri, Mother Teresa, K. Kamaraj and Hillary Rodham Clinton.