'Pawar invite for VVIP section, not fifth row'

'Pawar invite for VVIP section, not fifth row'

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. (PTI File Photo)

It was 'V' for VVIP and not the Roman numeral 'V' for five, the Rashtrapati Bhavan clarified on Wednesday, seeking to put a lid on the row over alleged 'insult' of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar by giving him a rear seat at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony last week.

“At the swearing-in ceremony on May 30, Mr Sharad Pawar was invited to the 'V section', where the most senior guests sat,” Ashok Malik, Press Secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind said.

Malik said a labelled seat was designated for Pawar in the front row.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, industrialist Mukesh Ambani were seated in the front row during the ceremony held on the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday last.

The NCP was miffed at the slight to Pawar and even complained that proper protocol was not followed while allotting a seat to him at the swearing-in ceremony that was attended by 8,000 invitees.

“Somebody in his office may have confused V (for VVIP) for the Roman V (five),” Malik said, terming reports about protocol issues as “inaccurate”.