A controversy erupted on Monday over Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge's seating at the swearing-in ceremony of President Droupadi Murmu. Several Opposition leaders wrote to the Rajya Sabha chairman claiming that Kharge was not accorded a seat commensurate with his position during the ceremony. However, the government has rejected this charge.
Oppn leaders claim Kharge disrespected at Murmu's swearing-in ceremony
Several Opposition leaders in a letter said Kharge was not accorded a seat commensurate with his position. The leaders, including those from the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Rashtriya Janata Dal, were signatories to the letter and expressed shock at "deliberate disrespect" shown to Kharge.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh shared the letter on Twitter and said, "Letter submitted to Hon'ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha by all Opposition Parties (including TMC) just now." "Today, at the swearing-in ceremony of the Hon'ble President, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha was made to sit in a seat not commensurate with the position he holds," the opposition leaders said in their letter.
"We are writing to express our shock and protest at this deliberate disrespect shown to a very senior leader violating the warrant of precedence and not in accordance with protocol courtesies due to him," the leaders said.
Govt refutes Opposition's allegations
The government refuted Opposition's allegations of not giving appropriate seat to Kharge during swearing-in ceremony Murmu, saying that the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha was given seat in front row at par with Cabinet ministers.
Rejecting the allegations, Union Minister Prahlad Joshi said there was no violation of protocol in the oath-taking ceremony of the President.
"In the order of precedence, leader of opposition is after all Cabinet ministers. Strictly going by that his seat comes in third row. But to respect seniority of Kharge ji, he was provided seat in first row itself," Joshi said.
When he objected to his seat as it was in corner, Joshi said staff present there requested him to come to the centre but he refused.
Joshi further said in outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind's farewell programme on Saturday, Kharge was given the seat next to the prime minister, but he didn't come.
"It was an insult to the President also. Today they are making an issue of a non-issue. In spite of order of precedence, we tried to accommodate them in first row. Majority of Cabinet ministers sat in second row," Joshi said.
(With PTI inputs)