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Amid Sabarimala Row, Centre’s Red Light to Kerala’s Republic Day Float With ‘Temples for All’ Theme

While sources in the Chief Minister’s Office told News18 that they had not received any official word from the Centre on the de-selection, officials in the defence ministry said the state has been informed that their float did not make it to the revised list.

News18.com

Updated:December 26, 2018, 10:36 PM IST
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Thiruvananthapuram: In a decision that is likely to trigger yet another political tussle between the Centre and Kerala, the defence ministry has “unselected” the state’s float for the Republic Day Parade, sources have told News18.

Kerala had proposed a tableau on “renaissance” theme of Vaikom Satyagraha and the Temple Entry Proclamation and it was initially in the list of 19 that had made the cut. Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra had sent an official letter to all the states selected for presenting their floats.

However, Kerala did not receive the letter and now, sources said the state has been eliminated from the event.

While sources in the Chief Minister’s Office told News18 that they had not received any official word from the Centre on the de-selection, officials in the defence ministry said the state has been informed that their float did not make it to the final list.

CMO sources said that the cultural committee for the parade had initially accepted the proposal of Vaikom Satyagraha as the central theme and had also suggested some changes.

“On Wednesday, there is a meeting of representatives from states whose floats have been selected. Kerala has not been invited for this meeting and when enquired unofficially, it has been told that the float has not been selected."

Vaikom Satyagraha was a movement against untouchability in the Hindu society that was centered on a temple in Vaikom in 1924-25. The Satyagraha aimed at securing freedom to all sections of society through the public roads leading to the Sri Mahadeva Temple.

It eventually paved the way for the Temple Entry Proclamation, which abolished the ban on the so-called 'low caste people' or avarnas from entering Hindu temples.

The decision to reject Kerala’s entry assumes significance as it comes amid the row over women entry into the Sabarimala temple. It has been termed as a “political” move.

There are allegations that this is Centre’s way of punishing Pinarayi Vijayan government in the state for vowing to implement the Supreme Court order on women entry in Sabarimala as the ruling BJP has been protesting against the order.

The state’s floats have been adjudged as the best five times, but faced rejected in 2015 and 2016 as well. In 2016, the theme was the now controversial Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa. The state had proposed a tableau on the temple as it was being considered as being developed as a national pilgrim centre.

(With inputs from Neethu Reghukumar and Meera Manu)

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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