MANGALURU/MADIKERI: Thanks to US President Barack Obama’s presence at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on Monday, public participation in the celebrations dipped to an all-time low in many parts of the state, especially Dakshina Kannada.
According to district officials, generally around 10,000 odd people, including officials and children, take part in the celebrations at Nehru Maidan in the city, but this time, it is estimated that not more than 5,000 witnessed the parade. “This was the first time in 30 years I stayed away from the celebration. But today, I preferred to watch the national parade. It was the most important Republic Day parade in recent years,” said Major (retired) K M Shambu.
Subramanya Bhat, a banker, told Express that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big day and the country was in focus. “I watched it right from the moment Modi drove down to Rajpath and left along with the Presidents of India and the US after the ceremony. Though, I missed the local Republic Day celebrations, I made it a point to watch the national coverage,” he said.
Arrangements: The district administration had made elaborate arrangements for people to sit and watch the parade, but unfortunately, the chairs remained empty. An official told Express that usually 1,000 chairs are ordered every year and almost all would be occupied in the past, but this time, many were empty.
It was a similar situation in Karwar as well, where the cultural and parade events played to a half-filled ground.
But this was not the case everywhere. In Madikeri, Obama’s participation in the R-Day celebrations in New Delhi did not have a big impact. Though it was expected that the people would be glued to their television sets to watch the celebrations, many did turn up for the local celebrations.
The function, which saw the participation of District Minister K J George, saw a huge audience.
In Somwarpet, Virajpet and Kushalnagar, people took part in large numbers. Augustine of Kushalnagar told Express that the function was “a success”.