Hitting back at the Congress party over the issue of sitting position of Rahul Gandhi during the Republic Day parade, BJP said that in the past its chiefs were not even given seats in the VIP enclosure. The whole buzz started after Congress chief attended the annual event and took the designated seat in the sixth row. Gandhi was seated in the sixth row, along with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. This prompted the angry reaction from the Opposition party as they accused the ruling BJP government of setting aside tradition and indulging in “cheap politics”.
The BJP, however, today rebuffed the Congress’ objections and said that Rahul Gandhi considered himself a super VVIP who should be put ahead of everyone else. BJP national spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao rejected the Congress’ criticism, and said that it did not behove the party, which “claims to have a 133-year-old illustrious history”. The same treatment was meted out to the BJP national presidents and leaders like Rajnath Singh when the Congress was in power, he said. “Rahul is trying to tell he is a super VVIP and should be put ahead of everyone else even if he doesn’t have any position or does not fall in the protocol list,” Rao said.
Anil Baluni from BJP had yesterday questioned, “Where did Rajnath Singh ji and Nitin Gadkari ji sit as BJP chiefs at Republic Day events during the Congress-led UPA government.” He had said that BJP leaders were not given seats in the VIP area during the Congress-era. “But unlike the Congress, the BJP does not stoop so low and believes in a healthy democracy,” Baluni had said.
Last year, as per the report, Sonia Gandhi was assigned a seat in the front row and was seen sitting along with BJP president Amit Shah. The BJP chief was seated in the front row in the function yesterday. Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the Modi government’s “cheap politics” was at the display when it broke tradition and denied Gandhi a front-row seat. Government sources said that as per the protocol, the Leader of Opposition is accorded a seat in the seventh row.