Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday led the 68th Republic Day celebrations in Tamil Nadu by hoisting the national flag, in a departure from the tradition as the state does not have a full-time Governor.
Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu, is attending the celebrations in Mumbai. Rao was sworn-in as Acting Governor of Tamil Nadu on September 2 last year after the tenure of K Rosaiah ended. Panneerselvam unfurled the flag near the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the Kamarajar Salai, along the Marina Beach, here and took the salute.
The celebrations were attended by a host of people, including state Ministers, MPs, MLAs and government officials. DMK Working President and Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly M K Stalin along with other party MLAs was also present on the occasion.
The Chief Minister took the salute and led the proceedings including the parade by Army and Navy contingents.
He presented awards and medals for meritorious services to recipients of various government departments. Cultural programmes by school and college students and floats of various departments highlighting their achievements were the highlights of the parade.
Earlier, Panneerselvam along with Lieutenant General RK Anand, General Officer Commanding, Dakshin Bharat area, paid homage to the soldiers of all three services who made sacrifice to the Nation by placing a wreath at the Victory War Memorial.
A two minute silence was observed on the occasion. Security was tight in the beach area which only last week witnessed pro-jallikattu protests.
Large number of police personnel were deployed at vital junctions to avoid any untoward incidents.