New Delhi: Seeking to downplay the row over non-inclusion of Sikh regiment in Republic Day parade, BJP on Wednesday said the armed forces contingents are decided as per a roster and political parties should not politicise it without knowing the facts.
BJP also said that this is not the first time that any of the Sikh regiments were missing from the R-Day march past at Rajpath as they did not march in 2009 and 2012 R-Day parade.
The party said units of Sikh Light Regimental Centre, however, did participate as part of a mixed band in this
year's Republic Day parade playing the tune 'Samvidhan'.
"Armed forces represent the country and political parties should not make any statements without knowing the facts.
Parties should restrain embroiling the armed forces in their political agenda for their selfish interests," BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
Listing out the facts in the case, he said the armed forces contingents that march down Rajpath on Republic Day are
decided on the basis of a roster drawn up to cover a period of 2-3 years or more, enabling them to make preparations.
Sharma said that there have been instances in the past when the Punjab Regiment, the Sikh Regiment, the Sikh Light
Regiment, the Sikh Territorial Army, the Sikh Light Territorial Army and the Punjab Territorial Army have not marched in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi's Rajpath in 2009 and 2012.
The Sikh Light Regimental Centre, however, did participate in this year’s Republic Day parade at Rajpath, as part of a mixed band along with the Grenadiers Regimental Centre that played the tune 'Samvidhan'.
Some parties like Congress, AAP and Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab have raised questions over non-participation of a Sikh regiment in this year's Republic Day parade and are seeking to make a political issue of it.