Congress party was left fuming on Friday after the Centre’s Narendra Modi government ‘humiliated’ their leader, Rahul Gandhi, during the function to mark the 69th Republic Day in Delhi.
Reacting to the government’s decision to allocate him the 6th row, Rahul told NDTV, “I am not bothered about where I am sitting.”
Contrary to media reports that the Modi government had decided to allocate Rahul a fourth row seat, the Congress president was eventually made to sit in the sixth row, four rows behind the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani. Gandhi had defeated Irani in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, prompting the BJP to bring her into the parliament and justify her ministerial role through the Rajya Sabha.
The Congress president has traditionally enjoyed the front row seat every Republic Day until as recent as last year when Sonia Gandhi headed the party. Unlike Rahul Gandhi, the BJP President was given the front row, a privilege he has enjoyed since the BJP formed the government at the Centre in May 2014.
Congress party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, called it a cheap politics of the Narendra Modi government. He tweeted, “The cheap politics of the Modi government is out in the open. The arrogant rulers discarded all traditions and deliberately made Congress President Rahul Gandhi first sit in the 4th row and then 6th row. For us, the celebration of our constitution is the top priority.”
A senior Congress leader told Janta Ka Reporter, “We know the BJP can stoop to any low to humiliate their political rivals. But making our leader sit in the sixth row by doing away with the tradition is a new low in the Indian politics. Mr Modi has just proven yet again that he’s version of politics is crass.”
On Friday, Rahul Gandhi was seen sitting in the sixth row at the Rajpath along with his party colleague and a former union minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad. BJP President Amit Shah and LK Advani were given the front row. As expected the Friday’s development evoked angry reactions from the Congress supporters on social media.
The BJP thought Rahul Gandhi would feel humiliated by sitting in the 6th row. But they completely forgot that he is the President of that Indian National Congress — the leaders of which were jailed for years by the British and they survived without writing mercy petitions. ✌️? pic.twitter.com/rUgJei6L5b
— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) January 26, 2018
Rahul Gandhi President @INCIndia humilated seated in the 6th row .
Amit Shah BJP President sits in the front row.
Both Presidents of National parties.
BJP is afraid of Rahul Gandhi .
Insult to a party which fought the freedom struggle.
— K. Chandrakumar ? (@kurup62) January 26, 2018
How Center misusing power. Rahul Gandhi got seat at 6th row and un-elected people like @smritiirani given seat 2 rows ahead of him, most of BJPs people given seat in 1st two rows. Low grade politics. @narendramodi @AmitShah @aajtak @ndtv @IndianExpress @the_hindu @ShashiTharoor
— Lets Debate (@debate2050) January 26, 2018
@PMOIndia are we making our country as banana republic by giving 6th row to @OfficeOfRG as @INCIndia president and @AmitShah as first row,when congress in power and wont invite BJp top leader and call junior level where our country will move,stop cheap politics
— Ajay kumar Khemka (@Ajaykumar00009) January 26, 2018
Leaders of 10 ASEAN countries were the chief guests during this year’s Republic Day function. One of the reasons why the Congress is livid by today’s treatment meted out to its leader that he was humiliated in front of the international dignitaries. However, they said that Rahul Gandhi agreeing to sit even in the sixth row ‘showed class.’
“That’s why we are different. Today’s was a shining example of we matching Modi’s crass with our class,” said another leader wishing to be anonymous.