The Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday clarified that Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar was provided a seat in the VVIP section during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.
Press Secretary to the President Ashok Malik issued the clarification on Twitter after media reports suggesting that Pawar had skipped the ceremony in New Delhi on May 30 after he was allotted a seat in the fifth row. A report Malik shared quoted Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik saying that Pawar did not attend the event as he felt that protocol had not been followed.
“At the swearing-in ceremony on May 30, Mr Sharad Pawar was invited to the “V section”, where the most senior guests sat,” Malik said. “Even within ‘V’, he had a labelled first row seat. Somebody in his office may have confused V (for VVIP) for the Roman V (five).”
Malik said he was issuing the clarification following “inaccurate reports” and “media queries” received by his office on the matter.
Modi and his Council of Ministers were sworn in at a grand ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 30 after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s resounding victory in the Lok Sabha elections. Nearly 8,000 guests attended the event, including leaders of Opposition parties, Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation nations, businesses, media professionals and Bollywood actors.