The Congress claimed that party president Rahul Gandhi was made to sit in the sixth row at the Republic Day function in New Delhi on Friday. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for not following convention.

“The arrogant rulers deliberately seated Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the fourth row, then sixth row, on Republic Day, discarding all convention,” he tweeted. “For us, the Republic Day celebration is above everything else.”

Congress leader Salman Khurshid said it was “more an issue of good manners than protocols”, PTI reported.

“It is sad if those in power think somebody’s stature is decided by where that person is seated,” said Khurshid, adding that Rahul Gandhi was no longer just a Congress MP. “He is also the president of India’s largest opposition party. And if the ruling party doesn’t understand that position, it is unfortunate.”

Rahul Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi, who was Congress president for 19 years, had always been seated in the front row.

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who were chief guests at the Republic Day Parade, were seated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a 100-foot wide stage. The Congress also alleged that Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders were not allowed to meet the ASEAN leaders, NDTV reported.

On Thursday, the Congress had lashed out at the Narendra Modi government for allotting Rahul Gandhi the fourth row. However, Gandhi insisted on attending the parade, reports had said.