Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attended the Republic Day Parade and took the designated seat in the sixth row, prompting an angry reaction from his party that accused the government of setting aside tradition and indulging in "cheap politics".
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the Modi government's "cheap politics" was on display today when it broke tradition and denied Gandhi a front-row seat.
Congress sources said the party presidents, including Sonia Gandhi who handed over the party reins to Rahul Gandhi in December last year, had always been seated in the front row at the Republic Day Parade.
"The Modi government's cheap politics is for all to see. The Congress president was deliberately made to sit in the sixth row, after initially assigning him a fourth-row seat, at the Republic Day celebrations by the arrogant rulers, who set aside all past traditions. For us the celebration of the Constitution is foremost," Surjewala tweeted in Hindi.
He also tagged a picture of Gandhi seated along with Azad at the Republic Day function.
Congress leaders had yesterday alleged that assigning a seat in the fourth row to the Congress president was an attempt to "humiliate" him at a public function, which was attended by heads of government/states of 10 Asean countries.
India today celebrated its 69th Republic Day with a grand display of the country's military might and rich cultural diversity in the presence of leaders from all the Asean nations, in a historic first and unprecedented strategic outreach to the powerful bloc.
This is for the first time that leaders from 10 countries attended the annual celebrations as chief guests, and the overwhelming presence of the Asean leadership is seen as a reflection of India's growing stature as a major power in the region where China has been expanding its footprint.