The South Indian states celebrated India’s 74th Republic Day with patriotic fervour along with the rest of the country on Thursday, 26 January.
Parades and cultural events marked the celebrations, even as schools and other institutions hoisted the tricolour on their campuses. Local organisations, too, joined in, playing patriotic songs.
Efforts to politicise the event were also seen, with governors making political jibes during their addresses. In Andhra Pradesh, however, the Governor showered lavish praise on Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao stayed away from the event organised at the Raj Bhavan.
Except for Karnataka, all other states are ruled by non-BJP governments.
Stung by the low-key Republic Day celebrations organised by the state government at the Raj Bhavan, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Thursday threw quite a few barbs at the ruling BRS dispensation, indicating that all was not well in the state.
Towards the fag end of her Republic day address after unfurling the national flag and inspecting a low-key parade, the Governor took potshots at Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, albeit in an oblique fashion.
She said that development meant all farmers should have farms and houses and not a few own farmhouses. “Buildings are not development. Nation-building is development,” Soundararajan said.
As expected, the chief minister was conspicuous by his absence. Chief Secretary A Santhi Kumari and Director General of Police Anjani Kumar were among the officials who attended the event.
The Governor, in her address, pointed at what she called the stressful conditions in Telangana, apparently to embarrass the chief minister. She said: “National statistics show that every day 22 suicides are taking place in Telangana, which is about one death per hour.”
She did not hide her displeasure while describing development. “If every child studies in the best university, then it is development. If only my child studies in a university abroad, then it is not development,” she said, implying that Telangana was lagging in development.
The Governor stressed the need for an effort to protect Telangana’s self-respect — apparently implying that it was in peril. She said everyone has to fight for the rights of the people of Telangana people, delivering yet another googly at the chief minister.
In yet another snide remark, she said: “Some people may not like me. But I will continue to work for the development of the state. I only know hard work, honesty, and love for Telangana though it is only there years since I came here.”
She even recalled Telangana poet Dasarathi Krishnamacharya describing Telangana as a “koti ratanala veena.”
Chief Minister KCR, meanwhile, lit the jyothi (lamp) at the ‘Amar Jawan Stupa’ at the Parade Ground in Secunderabad and offered floral tributes. He remembered the sacrifices the soldiers had made for the country.
The state government organised the parade at the Raj Bhavan after the Telangana High Court on Wednesday, 25 January, ruled that there should be a full-scale parade at Republic Day celebrations and that the event should reflect the spirit and flavour of the day.
As the court did not say where the celebrations should be held, the government decided that they should be organised at the Raj Bhavan itself.
In the court, when a petition was moved by one Srinivas during lunch hour came up, the government tried to defend its decision against organising the celebrations on a grand scale as the Covid-19 threat was still looming large.
But the court, contending that the explanation was unconvincing, asked the government to organise the celebrations on a grand scale.
Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan unfurled the national flag at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation in Vijayawada on Thursday. He was joined by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
A tableau showcasing the development and welfare schemes implemented by the Andhra Pradesh government was the highlight of the event.
The Governor said that the essence of the Constitution was being carried out by the state government for the past 43 months.
“Establishing that our state government is not a government of words but a government of deeds, we have brought in real Gram Swaraj in just 43 months which cannot be seen anywhere in the country,” he said.
“Village/ward secretariats and volunteer system form an important element to realise Gram Swaraj. The state government is following the Constitutional in the true spirit, by giving equal opportunity to everyone, looking beyond caste, religion, region, and political affiliations,” Harichandan added.
He had also said that the government, having realised that no serious effort was made earlier to change the fate of marginalized sections, had embarked upon an unprecedented Direct Benefit Transfer through which an amount of ₹1.82 lakh crore has reached the beneficiaries.
During Covid, despite a strain on finances, the state government has provided financial aid through Navaratnalu, he added.
“Ours is the first state in the country which has undertaken a comprehensive land resurvey after 100 years using the most modern and advanced survey technologies for an accuracy of up to five centimeters,” he explained.
The scheme would title security by providing “Bhu Hakku Pathram” to landowners and secure boundaries by planting “Bhu Raksha Survey Stones” free of cost.
The resurvey project is being taken up in 17,584 villages, spread across 2.26 crore acres of agricultural lands and 85 lakh acres of government and private lands.”
He concluded by assuring that the welfare-based development and growth of the state would continue so that Andhra Pradesh would become the top state in the country.
Governor RN Ravi unfurled the national flag and inspected the Republic Day parade in Chennai.
The event also marked the first time the Governor came face to face with Chief Minister MK Stalin after the former walked out of the state Assembly after being heckled during his customary address.
Ravi walked out after the chief minister moved a resolution not to record the Governor’s speech in the Assembly records.
The chief minister and Chief Secretary Irai Anbu welcomed the Governor to the venue and introduced him to the heads of the uniformed service personnel. Both Stalin and Ravi were together for nearly 30 minutes till the ceremonial parade was over.
Later in the evening, Stalin will participate in the High Tea hosted at the Raj Bhavan. The DMK’s allies had already announced that they would be boycotting the function.
Meanwhile, in the Pudukottai district, DMK MP MM Abdullah boycotted the Republic Day function and left the venue stating that he was not allotted proper seating in the function.
Collectors in their respective districts hoisted the national flag and gave away awards to government servants, social workers, and journalists for their distinguished work.
Further, Grama Sabha meetings were held in all the village panchayats across the state.
In south Tamil Nadu’s Tenkasi district, the people of seven villages in Kuthapanchan panchayat boycotted the Gram Sabha Meeting demanding a village administrative office.
Governor Trilokchand Gehlot unfurled the national flag at the Manekshaw Parade Ground in Bengaluru in the presence of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and other dignitaries.
Addressing the gathering, Bommai urged all to dedicate themselves to the Constitution, follow it, and vow to the progress of the nation.
The chief minister had also paid tributes to the martyrs at the National War Memorial. He said India has emerged as a superpower and it has a rich heritage and separate and unique features.
“Our country is modern and progressive and humane and marching forward with the theme of Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas, Sab Ka Prayas,” he said.
Bommai added that eight people from Karnataka getting the Padma awards showed the state’s bountiful talent.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has picked up people who have made rich, selfless contributions to the nation,” he said.
The prime minister has given preference to their achievements while selecting them for the prestigious Padma awards, the chief minister added.
Bengaluru Central MP PC Mohan and Chamrajpet MLA Zameer Ahmed unfurled the tricolour at the controversial Idgha Maidan in Chamarajpet. Elaborate security arrangements were made since Wednesday at both venues.
Governor Arif Muhammad Khan showered lavish praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he made India the fifth economic power among the countries in the world.
The Governor made the comment at a time when Kerala’s ruling LDF and Opposition UDF were promoting a controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots and Modi.
Addressing a huge gathering at the Central stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, Khan said 40 percent of the world’s online economic transactions were happening in India and that “we must owe it to Modi”.
He also termed Athma Nirbhar Bharat as a classic example of the forward-looking vision of Modi, who has been ensuring fast-paced growth.
He advised Kerala to take advantage of many central government policies and projects like Vande Bharat trains. Khan hoisted the tricolour and inspected the guard of honour. Patriotic songs were sung by school students.
Minister for General Education V Sivankutty and senior officials represented the government at the event. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would be attending “At Home”, the customary high tea at the Raj Bhavan in the evening.
Ministers in charge of each district attended the Republic Day celebrations in their respective districts.
(Reported by Raj Rayasam in Hyderabad; SNV Sudhir in Vijaywada; Vinodh Arulappan in Chennai; Bellie Thomas in Bengaluru; and KA Shaji in Thiruvananthapuram)