The seating arrangement during Republic Day parade has raised question and Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala calls it as cheap politics by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party in India.
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was seated in the sixth row with leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. Congress alleges it as a deliberate slight while the ruling party says it is the same protocol that was set by the UPA when it was in the government.
Surjewala added, “The arrogant government broke with tradition and convention, and deliberately made Congress president Rahul Gandhi first sit in the fourth row and then in the sixth row in the function to mark the national festival of Republic Day.”
The ruling party said similar arrangement was laid down by the UPA government when the BJP was the main opposition.
BJP’s media cell convener Anil Baluni said their leaders Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari were seated in the 11th row which was meant for officials.
The media cell added further that the seating arrangement for Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, who were the leaders of opposition in the two Houses, was several rows back.
Sources mentioned the government however has allowed Sonia Gandhi a front row seat in past three consecutive Republic Day parades, but this was discounted for Rahul Gandhi.