The Rashtrapati Bhavan has clarified Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was invited to the VVIP section and his seat was allocated in the first row during the oath-taking ceremony of PM Narendra Modi, days after a controversy that the NCP chief skipped the event due to his seat in the fifth row. Pawar had skipped the swearing-in ceremony after the NCP members were reportedly unhappy about his seat in the fifth row.
On Tuesday, Press Secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind, Ashok Malik, took to micro-blogging site Twitter to put an end to the controversy and shed light on the matter. Malik said that at the ceremony on May 30, Pawar was invited to the "V section", where the most senior guests sat. He claimed that even within "V", he had a labelled first-row seat. He further said that there could possibly have been confusion and somebody in his office may have confused V (for VVIP) for the Roman V (five).
"At the swearing-in ceremony on May 30, Mr Sharad Pawar was invited to the "V section", where the most senior guests sat. Even within "V", he had a labelled first-row seat. Somebody in his office may have confused V (for VVIP) for the Roman V (five)," tweeted Malik.
The clarification was issued after contrary media reports and media queries received by the President's office, Malik explained in another tweet.
According to media reports, Pawar`s party was upset over seat allotment being contrary to protocol. Prime Minister Modi and his council of ministers were sworn in for a second term on May 30 at a grand-ceremony organised in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Several foreign dignitaries including the leaders from BIMSTEC nations attended the event.