New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been invited by the government for the Republic Day parade on January 26 but the Congress is furious. The Congress President has been given a seat in the fourth row, according to Congress leaders.
There is no official word yet on the seating arrangement of political leaders as well as ministers.
"We have come to know that the Congress president has been assigned a seat in the fourth row, unlike in past when they used to occupy a seat in the front row during the Republic Day parade," said a senior Congress leader.
The Congress, who urged anonymity, claimed that by making such seating arrangements, the Narendra Modi government is resorting to "cheap politics".
The leader, however, stated that irrespective of whatever arrangements are made, Rahul Gandhi will attend the Republic Day function.
Congress is claiming that the move is aimed at "humiliating" the Congress leadership at the public function which will be attended by Head of Governments/States of all the 10 ASEAN countries.
"It is this (BJP) government's style as they want to demean the Congress party and its President in front of the Asean leaders and people of India - that now he and his party are no more relevant. It's their (BJP) way of saying so," he added.
Traditionally the Congress President would be given a seat in the front row as was the case till last year. Former party president Sonia Gandhi has also been given a seat in the front row always.
BJP president Amit Shah has also been always assigned a seat in the front row at the Republic Day parade ever since this government came to power in 2014.
Not just Congress, earlier in the day, the Aam Aadmi Party had raised objection claiming that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were asked to wait and show their invitation cards for the Republic Day event hosted by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday.
"The L-G had organised a programme at Raj Niwas for Republic Day celebrations. Vehicles of many other officers were allowed to go inside the L-G House but the CM, the Deputy CM, and the Speaker were asked by the police to present their invitation cards, and forced to wait outside for a few minutes," AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma had said.
However, the Delhi Police claimed that they acted as per protocol and no vehicle was allowed inside the venue of the Republic Day function.
In 2014, Kejriwal had threatened to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations but was later seen at Rajghat attending the event. Kejriwal had threatened to undertake an indefinite protest then on Republic Day against the Central government.
(With agency inputs)