Republic Day: Rahul Gandhi given sixth row seat, Congress livid

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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday rebuffed the Congress" objections to its president Rahul Gandhi being at the Republic Day function, saying he considered himself a "super VVIP who should be put ahead of everyone else'.

The Congress came down hard on the ruling BJP by accusing it of adapting "cheap tactics" in allotting a seat only in the 4th row for Congress President Rahul Gandhi during yesterday's Republic Day Parade at Rajpath in New Delhi. "BJP did not make an issue of the seating arrangements made for BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh during UPA regime in 2013 and 2014". Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad is seated beside him. "For us celebrating the Republic is above all", he tweeted in Hindi.

Rao was responding to Congress leader Randeep Surjewala's remarks a day earlier that "the Modi government's cheap politics is for all to see".

In response, Congress general secretary B K Hariprasad said, "It is the arrogance of the prime minister that is brushing upon the leaders of the BJP". Congress sources say it is the first time since independence that the party's chief was not assigned a front-row seat.

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All 10 ASEAN leaders conveyed to India their desire for it to play a more assertive role in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region while recognising the country's growing stature in ensuring regional peace and stability.

State Congress Working President Vincent H. Pala said that Gandhi will be the "star campaigner" for the Congress in the ensuing assembly elections to further boost the confidence of the people.

Responding to the controversy, Rahul told a reporter that he was "not bothered" what seat he has been allocated.

Later in the evening, at the President Ram Nath Kovind's Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rahul was made to sit in a selected enclosure along with the parade chief guests.

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