The Hush Post: A fourth-row seat extended to the new Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the Republic Day parade has Congress party members feel humiliated and have termed it as “cheap politics”. Defence Ministry officials clarified that a special dispensation that gave former Congress president Sonia Gandhi a front-row seat had not been extended to the new incumbent.
The party made the point that the Congress president had always been accorded a front-row seat. Under UPA, L K Advani was allotted a seat in the front row when he was the Leader of Opposition, the party said.
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.
Defence ministry sources said there was no violation of protocol set out by the warrant of precedence. Leaders of political parties come down the order. Even the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) is placed behind several dignitaries. “A decision had been taken previously to provide a special dispensation for Sonia; this does not apply to Rahul Gandhi,” a source added.
Ten Heads of ASEAN nations as guests who will be on the dais along with President Ram Nath Kovind.