First Row in Republic Day Parade now reserved for labours, rickshaw pullers and vendors

by Subhechcha Ganguly

On January 26, the country will commemorate its 74th Republic Day. In addition to the Beating the Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk and the PM’s NCC rally, the celebrations include the customary march past at Kartavya Path that features a grand parade by the contingents of the Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces, tableaux display by the States and Central Ministries/Departments, cultural performances by children, acrobatic motorcycle rides, and a fly-past.Online ticket sales for the main ceremony have already started.

This year, attendees and holders of digital tickets for seats at the event will be eligible for a “free metro ride.” On January 26, these trips will only be free for two stations close to Raisina Hill: Udyog Bhawan and Central Secretariat. Republic Day e-tickets purchased online will feature a QR code that can be scanned for a token good for a free trip to stations close to the venue at metro stations.

In order to authentically capture the essence of a Republic nation, the Republic Day parade in 2023 will include special official invitees, such as rickshaw pullers and vegetable vendors. According to media reports, during the parade, Shramjeevis (workers who contributed to the construction of the Central Vista), their families, Kartavya Path maintenance workers, and other community members like rickshaw pullers, tiny grocery store owners, and vegetable vendors will be seated in front of the main dais. The “participation of the common people” in all R-Day activities is the celebration’s central focus this year.

Prior to the implementation of COVID, there were 50,000 public seats available; now, there are only 45,000. According to the Ministry of Defence, there are much fewer VIP seats available.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be the special guest at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26. According to organisers, a 120-member Egyptian military detachment would also join in the festivities.

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