Amid a tussle between AAP and the Centre, the Delhi government will skip a cultural festival being organised by the Modi government to mark Independence Day, saying it was “not approached” for participation.
However, a top Union Tourism Ministry official claimed the Delhi government has not given its confirmation for participation in the seven-day festival, ‘Bharat Parv’, which kicks off tomorrow at Rajpath here.
The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has been at loggerheads with the Centre over various issues, the latest being the administrative control over the UT.
As many as 30 states and Union Territories have given their consent to participate in the event to the Tourism Ministry, which is nodal agency for the event. It will be inaugurated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Besides Delhi, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, West Bengal and Bihar have not sent their consent for participation in the festival aimed at generating patriotic mood, the official said.
“We have not heard (anything about participation) from Pondicherry, Chandigarh… Lakshadweep and Delhi also have not come so far,” Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi said when asked about the states not participating in the event.
A list of participating states and UTs provided by the Ministry also does not mention the names of Bihar and West Bengal, besides the four UTs.
Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra maintained that the Delhi government was not approached and that it would have loved to participate in the event.
“We were not approached. There is zero communication. We have no clue and we would have loved to participate in such an event,” Mishra said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma will also be present at the inauguration ceremony at 5 PM tomorrow.
The festival, which will culminate on August 18, will showcase India’s cultural diversity with various folk and tribal dance performances from different states and UTs.
The event would also witness performance from the Armed Forces Bands, multi-cuisine food court, craft mela and photo exhibition — Azadi 70 Saal-Yaad Karo Kurbani — by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
A similar festival was organised at Red Fort from January 26 to 31 for Republic Day this year.
Buoyed by the public response to it, Zutshi said the government decided to hold an event on the same lines at India Gate on the eve of Independence Day.