MUMBAI: In what could lead to a potential Centre-state row, Maharashtra's proposed tableau for the prestigious Republic Day Parade this year has been rejected, sparking strong reactions in the state political circles here on Tuesday.
Similarly dismissed is a tableau planned by the West Bengal government - both the states have non-Bharatiya Janata Party governments and have taken a strong stance on the Citizenship Amendment Act and other recent issues.
In a sharp reaction, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut demanded to know "what is the conspiracy behind this?" and questioned the state BJP's silence on the issue.
"If the Congress was at the Centre, and such a thing would have happened, would the state BJP remain silent on it?" he asked.
Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule slammed the BJP for rejecting the state's tableau, terming it as an "insult" to both Maharashtra and West Bengal.
"Republic Day is celebrated all over India and all states should participate in the parade. But the (BJP) government is acting aggressively and treating non-BJP ruled states with discriminatory behavior," said Sule, the daughter of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.
She said both Maharashtra and West Bengal have played a vital role during the country's freedom struggle and this action was condemnable.
Congress's national Secretary Sanjay Dutt said the Centre's decision was "an insult to the people and martyrs of both states who played a key role in the Independence movement".
"The arbitrary rejection by the BJP government of the tableaux of both states smacks of political vindictiveness against non-BJP Opposition governments. Will the Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis stand up and speak for this blatant injustice done to Maharashtra which has an illustrious legacy to the freedom struggle," Dutt asked.
From the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, senior Cabinet minister Jitendra Awhad said this was an affront to the people of the state and a blow to the federal structure of the country because of the politics pursued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"For the last 70 years, Maharashtra's tableau has been displayed in the R-Day Parades... we have even been adjudged winner several times, with topics like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Sant Tukaram and spreading social messages," Awhad said.