The Congress president had been assigned a fourth-row seat on Thursday but was eventually given a place in the sixth row along with Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the Modi government's "cheap politics" was at display on Friday when it broke tradition and denied Gandhi a front-row seat. Yesterday's Parade was very special as it was attended by as many as 10 Heads of States of ASEAN countries who were "special guests". "The arrogant rulers deliberately seated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the fourth row, then, in the sixth row, on Republic Day, discarding all convention". They were seated on a 100-foot wide stage with PM Modi.
The ruling party wondered what was the fuss about when Rahul had been alloted a seat as per "protocol", adding that the BJP leaders were treated similarly during the Congress rule but it had never made it an issue.
The controversy doesn't seem to rest as Congress hit back BJP saying that the party should apologise for the derogatory remarks made by its spokesperson. "It's their (BJP) way of saying so".
The Congress did not want to be seen clamouring over Rahul Gandhi's seating arrangements at the Republic Day parade after its initial protest, given that the Congress president himself has spoken out against VIP culture. "If this is your democratic spirit or understanding of democracy, it is a shame on the Congress party", he said.
Responding to the controversy, Rahul told a reporter that he was "not bothered" what seat he has been allocated.
At the President's At Home in the evening, though, Rahul was seated in the main VIP enclosure with the Prime Minister, visiting dignitaries and the President.