The Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party slammed the Centre on Thursday after it rejected West Bengal and Maharashtra's tableau proposals for the Republic Day Parade, alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government has insulted the people of the two states.
Government sources, however, said the decision to include or exclude a tableau was purely merit-based.
The TMC said by rejecting Bengal's proposal, the Centre insulted the people of the state for opposing the amended citizenship law.
The NCP and the Shiv Sena claimed prejudice against Maharashtra.
West Bengal minister of state for parliamentary affairs Tapas Roy accused the Centre of being "vindictive" towards the state. "Just because West Bengal has been opposing anti-people policies of BJP government, a step-motherly treatment is being meted out to the state. As we have opposed anti-people laws like CAA, the Centre has rejected our tableau proposal," Roy said.
The TMC-led West Bengal government has been protesting against the amended law.
NCP leader Surpiya Sule accused the Centre of being "prejudiced". She said Bengal and Maharashtra had played a key role in the freedom struggle and the decision to deny permission to their tableaux was an "insult" to the people.
Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut wondered whether there was a political conspiracy behind the decision.
"The Centre has rejected permissions to the tableaux of Maharashtra and West Bengal from parading on Republic Day. It is a festival of the country and the Centre is expected to give representation to all the states," Sule tweeted.
The Sena, NCP and the Congress run the Maharashtra government in alliance.
The defence ministry said Bengal's proposal was examined by an expert committee twice.
"The tableau proposal of Government of West Bengal was not taken forward for further consideration by the expert committee after deliberations in the second meeting. It is pertinent to mention here that the tableau of Government of West Bengal was short-listed for participation in Republic Day Parade 2019 as an outcome of the same process," it said in a statement.
The ministry has selected the tableau proposals of 15 states and a union territory -- Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
Of these, eight are BJP or NDA-ruled states, four are ruled by UPA and three by non-UPA and non-NDA parties.
The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Department of Financial Services, the National Disaster Relief Force, Central Public Works Department, Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and the Ministry of Shipping were selected for the 2020 parade.
The Bihar government's proposed tableau based on the theme of "Jal-Jivan-Haryali mission" for the Republic Day parade in Delhi has also failed to find favour from the Centre.
Bihar had put forward its tableau based on the theme of 'Jal-Jivan-Haryali Abhiyan' launched by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in October 2019 to boost green cover and the ground water table in the state.
Kumar at present is criss-crossing the state to propagate the water-life-greenery programme among the people.
Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal took potshot at the NDA government at the Centre for "humiliating" the people of Bihar by dismissing its tableau.
"They (NDA government at the Centre) earlier shot down Bihar's demand for special status and has now rejected a proposal to showcase its scheme through a tableau on the Republic Day.... This is the truth of the double-engine' government trumpeted by the BJP," RJD spokesman Mritunjan Tiwari said.
BJP-ruled Uttarakhand did not figure in the list.
However, it was not known whether it had sent a proposal to the ministry for participating in the Republic Day parade.
In a statement, the defence ministry has said tableau proposals received from states/union territories and central ministries and departments are evaluated in meetings of an expert committee comprising eminent persons in the field of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture and choreography.
"The expert committee examines the proposals on the basis of theme, concept, design and its visual impact before making its recommendations. Due to time constraints arising out of overall duration of the parade, only a limited number of tableaux can be short-listed for participation in the parade. The selection process in vogue, leads to participation of the best tableaux in the parade," it said.