New Delhi: Third time in recent years, the Union Ministry of Defence has rejected Kerala’s Republic Day float, even after receiving high appreciation from the concerned committee in the first round. Kerala was ousted from the parade in the years 2019 and 2020 as well. The state will not be able to participate in the grand parade this year as well.
The theme for this year’s parade is ’75 years of Independence’. Kerala submitted a proposal for the tableau of Sree Narayana Guru and Jatayu rock. The defence ministry asked them to change it to Adi Shankara. It also asked to withdraw the submission if the state is not willing to change. Kerala was not ready to accept the demands of the ministry and thus, the submission was rejected. The tableaux are selected through a five-phased test.
The state government pointed out that Sivagiri in Varkala, the birthplace of Sree Narayana Guru, are close to Jatayuppara. The government noted that this combines the faces of secularism and renaissance with pilgrimage tourism. The government claimed that if the image of Adi Shankara was included, it would only represent pilgrimage tourism.
In 2020, when Kerala’s float was rejected, the then law minister AK Balan said that the Centre’s decision was politically motivated. The state had proposed a tableau featuring Kerala Kalamandalam, boat race, elephant parade, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam, Kathakali and Chendamelam. Responding to the allegations, jury member and renowned dancer Jayaprada Menon said that the Republic Day parade is the prie of India, and they were bound to select the best. Kerala was ousted from the parade in the third phase.
Last year, Kerala participated in the Republic Day Parade with a still image of the theme of Coir. In earlier years, the state has bagged Medal for Best Stills at the Republic Day Parade five times.