Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress on Thursday hit out at the Centre for rejecting West Bengal's tableau proposals to showcase its schemes during the Republic Day parade, alleging it insulted the people of the state for protesting against the amended Citizenship Act.
The state BJP was quick to return fire, accusing the TMC government of not properly following rules and procedure, which it said caused the rejection. The West Bengal government had submitted proposals to display at the parade its award-winning cash transfer scheme "Kanyashree" besides giving alternatives of "Sabuj Sathi" (distribution of bicycle among school students) and "Jol Dhoro Jol Bhoro" project that seeks to conserve water, sources said.
A Defence Ministry statement had on Wednesday said an expert committee has rejected West Bengal's proposal after examining it in two rounds of meeting. "The tableau proposal of the West Bengal government was not taken forward for further consideration by the expert committee after deliberations in the second meeting. It is pertinent to mention here that the tableau of the government of West Bengal was short-listed for participation in the Republic day parade 2019 as an outcome of the same process," it said.
West Bengal Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Tapas Roy accused the BJP-led central government of having a "vindictive" attitude towards the state. "Just because West Bengal has been opposing anti-people policies of the BJP government, a step-motherly treatment is being meted out to the state. As we have opposed anti-people laws like CAA, the Centre has rejected our tableau proposal," Roy told PTI.
This is not for the first time that West Bengal's tableau proposal has been turned down. There have been previous instances also, he said. "Such cheap politics won't deter us from opposing anti-people policies. The BJP has insulted the people of West Bengal and they would get a befitting reply for it in the near future," Roy said.
The Kanyashree scheme launched in 2013 is a cash transfer scheme aimed at retaining girls in schools and preventing their early marriage. The United Nations had in 2017 awarded the Kanyashree scheme its highest public service award for promoting girls' education. "Kanyashree is a pet project of Mamata Banerjee which has been awarded by the UN. Rejecting a tableau on it reflects the vendetta politics of the BJP. Our proposals to showcase Kanyashree in 2015 and 'Ekata-i Sampriti' (unity is harmony) programme in 2018 during Republic Day parades were rejected," another state minister said.
Reacting to 'denial to permission to non-BJP states', NCP MP Supriya Sule said the government was behaving in a "prejudiced" manner. She said that Maharashtra and West Bengal had played a key role in the freedom struggle and the decision to allegedly deny permissions to their tableaux was an "insult" of the people.
"The Centre has rejected permissions to the tableaux of Maharashtra and West Bengal from parading on Republic Day. It is a festival of the country and the Centre is expected to give representation to all the states," Sule tweeted. "But the government is behaving in a prejudiced manner, giving step-motherly treatment to the states being ruled by the opposition parties," she added.
The Parliamentarian from Baramati also shared a news report that claims that the Defence Ministry has rejected West Bengal's tableau for the Republic Day parade (on January 26).
.@PMOIndia महाराष्ट्र आणि पश्चिम बंगाल या दोन्ही राज्यांनी देशाच्या स्वातंत्र्यलढ्यात मोलाची भूमिका बजावली आहे.या राज्यांना परवानगी नाकारण्याची कृती हा येथील जनतेचा अपमान आहे.केंद्र सरकारच्या या कृतीचा जाहिर निषेध.(2/2)https://t.co/Q90raJSZW3— Supriya Sule (@supriya_sule) January 2, 2020
Responding to the allegations, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the tableau proposals were rejected as the state government didn't properly follow the rules and procedure regarding it. "The state government has not followed the rules. Other states have followed them, so their tableau proposals have been accepted. The TMC should stop doing politics on each and every issue," Ghosh said.
BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu also termed the TMC's allegations as "baseless". "Everything is done as per the rules. There have been previous instances when West Bengal's tableaus were showcased. So this allegation of step-motherly treatment by the centre is baseless," Basu said.
The decision to reject Bengal's tableau proposals comes at a time when Banerjee has been criss-crossing the state holding protest marches against the new citizenship law. The TMC supremo has announced that new citizenship will not be implemented in the state.
(With PTI inputs)