New Delhi: Congress leaders slammed the government as their president Rahul Gandhi watched the Republic Day parade today from the sixth row at Delhi’s Rajpath.
Rahul was seated closer to the public than to union ministers and senior BJP leaders. Sources in the Congress say it is the first time since independence that the party’s chief has not been assigned a seat in the front row.
The 47-year-old was seen in the sixth row with Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. His security men crowded next to him, appearing to block the view of scores of people sitting in the back.
Though defence ministry officials clarified that a special dispensation that gave Sonia Gandhi a front-row seat had not been extended to the new Congress president.
While there was no official word from Congress over the seating arrangement, Congress members, speaking off the record, slammed the government, accusing it of resorting to “cheap politics”. They said the decision was a breach of protocol and an attempt to “demean” the party, and added that Sonia had been seated in the front row for the last three years.