Setting aside convention, the main opposition Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi was relegated to sixth row, embarrassing several MPs and guests at the Republic Day parade of 2018 held in New Delhi at Raj Path on Friday.
The Congress party described the "insult" on Rahul Gandhi as "cheap politics" being inddulged by the BJP government, circumventing the established norms of convention, if not rules. When Congress initially raised objection to make Rahul Gandhi being seated in fourth row, the organisers of the Republic Day further pushed him behind to sixth row when the final arrangements were made.
Randeep Surjewala, Communications In-charge of the Congress, merely tweeted that the "cheap politics" of the Modi government was evident to every one. Rahul Gandhi was, however, seen unmoved by the gesture and witnessed the celebrations along with other colleagues of his party from the sixth row.
Surjewala said the BJP-led Central government had broken the convention under which the president of the Congress was given a front row seat."The arrogant government broke with tradition and convention and deliberately made the 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.
"For us, the festival of Constitution is most important," Surjewala said.
Gandhi witnessed the parade at Rajpath seated along with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. Several Union ministers, including Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, were seated in rows ahead of him.Irani contested against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and was defeated.
This was Rahul Gandhi's first Republic Day function as party chief after having taken over the post from his mother Sonia Gandhi in December last year. The Congress Party is still seen as the major opposition to BJP in the country though it has fared poorly on social media techniques which had helped the BJP win 2014 elections.
If the Congress wins 2019 elections, then Congress may stake claim to make Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister.
(With inputs from IANS)