Karnataka's Tableau Eventually Makes It To Republic Day List... And Into The Centre Of Latest Political Tussle

Karnataka's Tableau Eventually Makes It To Republic Day List... And Into The Centre Of Latest Political Tussle

by Ksheera Sagar - Jan 12, 2023 06:24 PM +05:30 IST
Karnataka's Tableau Eventually Makes It To Republic Day List... And Into The Centre Of Latest Political TussleRepublic Day tableau from Karnataka from earlier years.(Representative image: Twitter).

Karnataka's tableau submission has finally found a place into the Republic Day parade 2023.

Days after backlash over its non-selection, a first in 13 years, the state has reportedly received a letter from the Ministry of Defence informing it of the eventual inclusion of its entry in the final list for 26 January.

The letter dated 12 January addressed to the Chief Secretary reads that the 'tableau proposal of the state government of Karnataka has been shortlisted by the government for participation in the republic day parade, 2023'.

This comes days after a fierce exchange of charges and counter-charges between the BJP and the Congress in the state over the issue.

What Happened?

When news broke some days ago that Karnataka's tableau had been kept out of the final list, Congress leaders took to social media to attack the BJP government for its 'incapability' to get the tableau selected. The attempt from the Congress was to play up the issue as an "insult to Kannada, Kannadigas and Karnataka".

Although Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is said to have 'hoped that the tableau would still make it', the stand of the government had been that the non-inclusion was only on technical grounds.

The state government had explained that Karnataka's tableau did not get the chance to take part in this year's event keeping in mind the union government's effort at providing opportunity to the states that took part the least number of times, during the last eight years.

Karnataka's tableau has been a part of 13 of the last 15 Republic Day parades.

Nodal Officer for Republic Day tableau parade, C R Naveen, had said in a statement that if the lists of participating states are compared it is evident that 'all the three prize winning states in 2022 are not selected this year'.

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi had countered the Congress' allegations, saying there was no political or bureaucratic interference in the selection of the tableaus, and that it was an expert committee that made the final selection.

Though he said that the "the state would still make efforts to qualify", he added: "if all 36 (states and UTs) are to be given a chance, then the parade will have to be extended from 1.5 hours to four hours".

Now A U-Turn?

However, with the Ministry of Defence's letter now, the Karnataka government would have to defend another 'U-turn'.

Observers say this doesn't reflect well on the party's claim of Karnataka enjoying a 'double-engine government' as it belittles the power of the state and re-affirms 'Delhi-centric' politics.

What will make it difficult for the state government is the fact that 'quantifiable parameters' were earlier used as justifications for the non-inclusion of Karnataka's tableau.

Observers say that the MoD's letter would also enable the opposition to question the independence of the ministry which has in the past distanced itself from such controversies and clarified too.

On the BJP's part, the eventual inclusion of Karnataka's tableau will likely be described as a result of the government's 'willingness to change', and of the fact that it is 'open to criticism'.

While such controversies are par for the course in an election-bound state, this was yet another instance when the BJP and its state government were forced to go on the defensive. With elections a few months away, the time to aggresively dominate the political narrative is now.

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