State to showcase: Centre-rejected tableau at Shivaji Park on Republic Day

Mumbai: After the Centre dropped Maharashtra's tableau from this year's Republic Day Parade in New Delhi, the state government has decided to include the 'rejected' entry at the Republic Day parade in Shivaji Park. The theme of the tableau is Kanhoji Angre, the first naval chief of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Constructed by the well-known art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai, the tableau features an equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on the ship. Sixty artists are participating in the programme.

Shivaji Maharaj's navy was led and developed by Kanhoji Angre, who was the first 'Sarkhel' (naval chief) of the force. He is credited with designing new sea-faring vessels. After Shivaji, his son Sambhaji Maharaj too focused on the expansion of naval forces, to fight with the Siddi of Janjira, Dutch and Portugese invaders

The tableau will showcase how the Maratha kingdom, aided by Angre, ruled the seas, starting from Surat to Cochin (Kochi). In his more than three-decade old naval career, Angre also played a role in developing ship-building and weapon manufacturing facilities in Kolaba, Vijaydurg, and Suvarnadurga forts.

Storm over rejection

The tableau entry presented by Maharashtra was excluded from this year's Republic Day parade in New Delhi, making it the second non-BJP-ruled state after West Bengal that failed to make the grade. This was revealed three weeks before, creating a political storm in the state. Furious at the rejection, the state's ruling Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party had accused the BJP-led Centre of being prejudiced and demanded an explanation. But the BJP had brushed this off, saying that in the past too, the state's tableau of the state had been rejected, during both Congress and its own regimes.

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