Republic Day 2021: This year, New Delhi’s iconic Rajpath won’t see its usual celebratory mood and all the razzmatazz on Republic Day. With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, the officials will have another issue of tackling the mega tractor march, which has been announced by the farmers agitating against the new farm reforms.
The situation is somewhat similar to last year when the central government was facing large-scale protests on the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act that had been passed in the year 2019. The customary parade of Republic Day which is the most prominent attraction will also be performed with substantial changes, the Indian Express reported.
Major Changes in Republic Day 2021 Parade
Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, the government has decided to downgrade the scale of the parade by reducing the number of spectators and size of the parade contingents. From a peak of 1.25 lakh spectators who were allowed last year, the government has decided to limit the number of spectators to less than 25,000. The parade tickets for the general public have also been sized down to only 4500 for this year. In a similar vein, the government has also decided to drop the number of contingents to 96 in contrast to 144 registered last year. The route of the parade has also been shortened and the contingents will move up to the National stadium only. Earlier, the parade used to march up to the Red Fort.
New additions in the 2021 Parade
Out of a total of 32 tableaux in the parade, the newly formed Union territory of Ladakh will participate for the first time. The tableaux will showcase the Indian Astronomical Observatory, located at Hanle near Leh in Ladakh. Continuing the tradition of the participation of a friendly nation contingent, a special Bangladeshi contingent which has already arrived in the country will march in the parade. Previously, the contingents of France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have participated in the annual parade in the year 2016 and 2017 respectively.
No Chief Guest at the Parade
The arrival of new strain of Coronavirus and the sudden spike in the number of cases in England forced the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to give a miss to India’s Republic Day event. Johnson who would have been the chief guest for this year’s Republic Day ceremony has cancelled his visit and for the first time in 55 years, the ceremony will be conducted without the presence of the Chief Guest.
How will farmers tractor rally pan out?
The protesting farmers have said that they would only commence the tractory rally once the official parade has completed its course on the day. A pre-decided route in coordination with the Delhi Police has also been formulated by the farm leaders on the outskirts of the capital city for the tractor rally. The police forces in the state of Haryana and Delhi have also stepped up the vigil to ward off the miscreants from the event.
According to protesting farmers, about 50000 tractor-trolleys are about to arrive in the national capital for the Republic Day rally. Balwant Singh Ghudani, a farmer from Ludhiana, Punjab told the Indian Express that going by the number of tractors and trolleys the farmers rally is expected to last for several days. In addition to the overwhelming number of protesting farmers from neighbouring Punjab, UP and Haryana, as many as 60 widows of Vidarbha farmers who committed suicide are also expected to participate in the Republic Day protests against the three farm laws which were passed by the government.
Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, who is a leader of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) told the Indian Express that as many as 25000 farmers and 10000 tractor/trolleys will march in Bengaluru on the Republic Day to mark solidarity with the farm movement.