Republic Day parade | Under new deal, each State can field tableau once in three years

28 States agree to Defence Ministry’s new rollover plan for Republic Day parade tableaux selection, whereby every State and UT will be accommodated; move comes amid repeated controversies and complaints over non-inclusion

January 10, 2024 10:11 pm | Updated January 11, 2024 11:53 am IST - NEW DELHI

Karnataka’s tableau on the Rajpath during the 73rd Republic Day Parade in 2022. Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has alleged that despite sending seven proposals for the 2024 parade, the Centre rejected all of them. Photo: Special Arrangement

Karnataka’s tableau on the Rajpath during the 73rd Republic Day Parade in 2022. Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has alleged that despite sending seven proposals for the 2024 parade, the Centre rejected all of them. Photo: Special Arrangement

In the backdrop of repeated controversies over selection of tableaux for the Republic Day parade and complaints from the States year after year, the Defence Ministry has proposed a rollover plan for the States and Union Territories (UT) to showcase their tableaux, according to official sources.

“Approximately 15 tableaux from the States and Union Territories are selected for the Republic Day parade every year. So everyone cannot be accommodated each year. Under the agreement, every State and UT will get an opportunity within three years. This is to ensure equitable distribution,” an official source in the know said.

Also read: Selection of tableaux for the Republic Day parade | Explained

Discussions were held three or four times with Resident Commissioners from various States and UTs at a meeting chaired by the Defence Secretary. A three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been proposed. Subsequently, a draft agreement was circulated and 28 States have signed it so far,” a second source said.

“To fast-track the participation of tableaux year-wise, willingness of States and UTs was sought in advance for the next three years for their participation in Republic Day Parade, 2024, 2025 and 2026. In response, most of the States/UTs conveyed their willingness for all the three years,” the first source said. To encourage new and fresh talent, the Ministry of Culture empanelled 30 agencies for design and fabrication of tableaux through a open selection process. The States/UTs were advised to engage these agencies following an appropriate procedure, the first source added.

Parade participants of 2024

After four rounds of meetings, 16 States and UTs – like every year – were selected for the 2024 Republic Day parade – Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. “The States that could not get an opportunity were invited to showcase their tableaux at Bharat Parv from January 23 to 31, 2024, at Red Fort,” the second source said. “The list shows that the tableaux of Opposition-ruled States of Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Meghalaya have been selected by the Expert Committee for RDP-2024. On the other hand, States such as Uttarakhand and Goa have not been selected.”

So far 28 States, including Karnataka, are a signatory to the MoU. In accordance with the MoU, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Assam and Uttarakhand will take part in the Bharat Parv at Red Fort, sources stated.

An expert committee comprising artists and Padma awardees was set up this year as well, based on recommendations of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and the Indian Council of Cultural Research, the source explained. “The committee finalises the theme and aesthetics. The government, Minister or Secretary are not in the picture of the process,” the second source added.

Last month, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann hit out at the Union government over the non-inclusion of the State’s tableau this year alleging discrimination against the State which was rejected by the Centre. He said the tableau depicts the contributions of freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai.

On Wednesday, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah alleged that despite sending seven proposals for this year’s parade, the Centre rejected all of them. “This is an insult to seven crore Kannadigas. It’s unfortunate the BJP MPs in Karnataka are not questioning this injustice. The Centre must correct this mistake and allow Karnataka’s tableau to participate in the prestigious Republic Day parade,” he said.

Karnataka has displayed its tableau in the Republic day parade every year from 2015 to 2023, one defence official stated.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stated in written replies in Parliament that there is a well-established system for selection of tableaux for the RD parade as per which Ministry invites proposals for tableau from all States/UTs and Central Ministries/Departments. “The selection process of tableaux is an elaborate and time-consuming exercise, as per the MoD,” it had stated. The MoD constitutes a committee of distinguished persons drawn from various fields of arts to help in shortlisting the best proposals, it said. “The selection process involves scrutiny of tableaux proposals from various States/UTs by the expert committee and several rounds of interactions by the committee members with representatives of the States on the theme, presentation, aesthetics and technical elements of the tableaux.”

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