Bengal's 12-yr R-Day hiatus ends

After a gap of 12 years, West Bengal is back in the Republic Day tableau.

The state has not participated in the Republic Day parade after the Defence Ministry turned down its proposal for an anti-nuclear tableau following India's second successful nuclear test in Pokhran in 1998.

The Left Front government's anti-nuclear stand did not go down well with the Defence Ministry. In retaliation, the Bengal government  shunned the Republic Day parade.

After Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress came to power eight months ago, she decided to participate again in the Republic Day celebration and picked up Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's Shantiniketan as tableau theme.

Banerjee, however, is unlikely to be present in the capital as the protocol demands she has to be in Kolkata.

Other states to be featured in the parade are Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Bihar, Assam, Punjab, Nagaland and Sikkim For Karnataka, the theme would be Bhootaradhane – an ancient cultural tradition of Holy Spirit and cult worship which is quite popular in coastal Karnataka.

Bihar would highlight the story of daughters of forests from Dharhara village where villagers plant 10 fruit-bearing trees once a girl child is born. As a result of this tradition, the village with a population of 7,000 has more than 100,000 trees, most of them being mangoes and lychees.

Apart from the states, ten Union ministries will also highlight their achievements in the Republic Day parade, the most attractive of which will be the one from Railway Ministry showing the Punjab Mail that completes 100 years of service.

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