NEW DELHI, Jan 27: India’s 67th Republic Day was celebrated across cities and towns on Tuesday, with the country’s military might on display in the capital where French troops made history by joining the impressive parade.
French President Francois Hollande, the chief guest, watched admiringly the 90-minute splendour where President Prab Mukherjee took salute from the military. It ended with colourful tableaux marking India’s cultural diversity, a daredevil motorcycle show and a grand flypast by air force fighters.
Across the country, governors and chief ministers unfurled the tiol flag and took salute from military and police units. The celebrations went off peacefully everywhere.
A contingent from the French 35th Infantry Regiment - elements of which served in India in 1781-84 - got the honour of leading the marching contingents and it performed with pache, preceded by a pipes and drums band. It is the first time a foreign army unit took part in the event.
The French apart, there was much that was different this time. The armoured element was bare-boned - just the T-90 Bhishma main battle tank and the BMP infantry combat vehicle - the marching contingents were fewer, as were the massed bands.
In another break with tradition, the young recipients of the tiol Awards for Bravery came up towards the end.
At the official function at the Mauala Azad stadium in Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra hoped the state will get an elected government soon.
He also paid tribute to late chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, whose death on January 7 led to Governor’s Rule in the troubled state. Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, tipped to lead a new PDP-led government in the state, attended the Republic Day event in Srigar.
In Srigar, separatist leaders were put under house arrest to foil protests.
In Maharashtra, Governor C.V. Rao unfurled the tiol flag and took the ceremonial salute in Mumbai. Lakhs of people enthusiastically took part in events in Mumbai, Pune, gpur, shik and elsewhere.
The day was celebrated across Kartaka with patriotic fervour. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala hoisted the tricolour and reviewed guard of honour at the Manekshaw Parade Ground in Bengaluru.
Tamil du Governor K. Rosaiah unfurled the tiol flag at the Mari beach in Cheni and took the salute from contingents of the armed forces. Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and thousands of people enjoyed the colourful floats.
In Vijayawada, Governor E.S.L. rasimha said with double-digit growth in the first half of the current fiscal, Andhra Pradesh was making big strides despite the problems following its bifurcation.
In Pat, Governor Ram th Kovind hoisted the tricolour and took salute at an impressive parade. He said the rule of law prevailed in Bihar. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hoisted the flag at his residence.
The main event in Rajasthan took place in Bikaner, where Governor Kalyan Singh unfurled the Indian flag in a packed Karni Singh Stadium. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje attended the event.
Odisha Governor S.C. Jamir unfurled the tricolour in Bhubaneswar. Chief Minister veen Patik hoisted it in Cuttack. Maoist calls to boycott the celebrations failed to evoke any response.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal unfurled the tiol flag at Bathinda as his father and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 88, is unwell.
Harya Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki unfurled the flag in Chandigarh. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar did so in Gurgaon.
West Bengal Governor K.N. Tripathi took the salute at a colourful marchpast from the army, vy and air force personnel on the Indira Gandhi Sarani in Kolkata. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attended.
The Left Front formed a human chain in the city in support of secular values. (IANS)