Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh’s tableau has not been selected for the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26, in yet another flashpoint between the BJP-led Centre and the Telugu Desam government in the state.
State government officials smell a conspiracy. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu expressed displeasure and asked officials to write a strongly-worded letter to the Centre.
State government sources said the defence ministry was impressed by the original design based around this year’s Republic Day theme, Mahatma Gandhi,. They had asked for 3D designs along with a musical theme. But they rejected the latter. The state government had chosen Gandhi Hill in Vijayawada, Pondhuru Khadhi in Srikakulam and Pallipadu Gandhi ashram in Nellore district for depiction in the tableau.
Gandhi Hill is a monument to India’s Independence struggle. It is from there that Mahatma Gandhi had given a call to the public to buy wooden charkhas and to collect money for the Tilak Peace Foundation. Responding to his call, a young local widow had donated her gold jewellery, an account on which was published in Young India on October 27, 1927. A stone slab and stupa at the hill are inscribed with quotes from Gandhi.
Taking inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, residents of Pondhuru village in Srikakulam started weaving khadi and are continuing even now. In Pallipadu, too, there is an ashram on the lines of Sabarmati ashram to eradicate untouchability.
“Joining these three themes, we had come up with designs that the defence ministry was impressed with,” a senior government official said.
“They asked us to submit 3D designs and a music theme, which we did. But surprisingly, the ministry, which was initially impressed with our designs, later rejected them,” said a senior government official.
This is not the first time the state’s tableau has been rejected by the Centre. Andhra tableaux were rejected in the past, for various reasons, once when Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy was chief minister and thrice when N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was chief minister. But they took part in the parade in the past four years....