This year, like the previous ones, there has been no initiative from the state government to include their representation when most states vie for a spot.
“It is true for so many years we have no representation in the national parade. In the last two years, the Central government made no additions to the list of states participating, since they cannot extend the time. Limited numbers of tableaux are allowed. Therefore, there was no chance for us to participate. Regarding the situation this year, I have to find out first,” said state Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti.
According to sources, after the duration of the parade was cut short in 2004-05, the Centre had asked the Bengal government to try and select short themes. On various occasions, the themes suggested by the state government were not ratified by the Army (which organised the rally), which cited them as being “unnecessarily lengthy”, besides being unprofessional in approach.
“I do not know why we do not send a tableau. There is no initiative from anywhere. In my tenure in the past three years, I have not received any such directions from the state government. This year is no different,” said Niloy Ghosh, director of the state’s information and cultural department. Army officials of the Eastern Command said there has been no initiative from the state government in this direction.
Not to miss the chance, the Trinamool Congress has accused the state government of undermining the prestige of the state. Sisir Adhikary, Union minister of state for Rural Development, said: “The international community, apart from the entire nation, watches the parade and it commands national respect. But the CPM-led state government has no nationalistic approach or mindset. For so many years, they have not taken any initiative to send tableaux to Delhi.”
“If they had asked us for help, we would be happy to push the case of our state,” added Adhikary.
This year, the information and cultural department will, however, prepare a tableau to be showcased in the parade in Red Road in Kolkata. The tableau will be based on the theme of varied cultures in Bengal “From Mountain to the Seas”. It will include tribal dance and Baul. Mountains, jungles and seas will be depicted by the dancers performing on the moving tableau.