Shipping Ministry’s Kolkata Port tableau irks TMC

West Bengal’s tableau failed to make it to the Republic Day celebration in Delhi, but the State was not altogether absent in the mega-show on the Rajpath on Sunday. Kolkata Port Trust’s tableau, hosted by the Ministry of Shipping, showcased a bit of Bengal and a giant Howrah bridge, under the theme, “Glorious past and vibrant future — the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT).” The showcasing of Bengal, after rejecting its official tableau proposal, irked ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Party leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien asked “is anyone surprised?

“What else can one expect from this Mo-Sh (Modi-Shah) government, who know nothing about Bengal. Remember, the Home Minister once said Rabindranath Tagore was born in Shantiniketan and the BJP State president thought Vidyasagar wrote Sahaj Path,” Mr. O’Brien told The Hindu.

The Kolkata Port, recently renamed as Syama Prasad Mukherjee Port by the Prime Minister, was the theme of the Ministry’s tableau. Besides the Howrah Bridge, the coloured containers usually found in the port area were also displayed in the tableau on wheels with a lighthouse.

RSS workers’ body Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh’s general secretary [for port] Pradip Bijoli, formerly a trade union leader of the CPI(M), said he is ‘proud’.

“This is the port’s 150th year when, for the first time, [a port] is featured in the Republic Day tableau and that too Kolkata, among so many ports. We are proud,” Mr. Bijoli said.

For the Republic Day celebrations of 2020, the West Bengal government had proposed to design its tableau based on three flagship welfare programmes — the Kanyashree Scheme (a conditional cash transfer scheme for girl students), Sabujshree (a sapling to every newborn), and Jal Dharo Jal Bharo (on water conservation).

The proposals were rejected, second time in a row, and BJP’s State president Dilip Ghosh said the Centre was “following a laid down procedure where a committee takes a final decision on whether a tableau will make it or not”. The TMC argued “since the State government is opposing the anti-people policies of the BJP government, a step-motherly treatment is meted out.”


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