The rejection of Andhra Pradesh's tableau for presentation at the Republic Day parade has taken a political turn, with Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu alleging bias against the state by the BJP-led government at the Centre.
The tableau, which was designed representing the iconic Vijayawada Gandhi Hill and Stupam, was rejected on Monday. The theme of the Republic Day parade this year was ‘Gandhian Connect’, in order to observe the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Information and Public Relations, Joint Director, Pothula Kiran told TNM, "To showcase the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, we had designed the tableau with the iconic Gandhi Hill and a 52-feet stupa built by Gandhi Peace Foundation at Vijayawada. It was the symbol of Swadeshi movement in Andhra Pradesh."
The tableau had apparently passed all the four stages of scrutiny but was later rejected. This makes it the fourth consecutive time when tableaus from both the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been rejected.
According to officials, all tableaus have to go through four stages for selection at the prestigious parade in New Delhi. This includes: stage 1- showcasing the artwork in 2D to the Union Defence Ministry, stage 2-modifications in the 2D design, stage 3- presentation of a 3D model with music and stage 4- final presentation with all the changes and modifications.
Pothula Kiran said that after being shortlisted along with 18 other states in the third round, they didn't receive any communication later. However, on Monday, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) received a fax rejecting the tableau.
The rejection of the tableau at the last minute has angered the chief minister, who has hit out at the Centre, and has asked his office to shoot a strongly worded letter to the Centre.
The New Indian Express quoted the chief minister as saying, “The BJP government at the Centre even denied permission to the AP tableau to participate in the R-Day Parade. This is testimony how acrimonious the Centre is towards AP. The government would write a letter on not selecting AP tableau to expose the Centre’s discrimination,” Naidu said.