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VVIPs, not 5th row: President's office clarifies on Sharad Pawar seat row at PM's oath

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New Delhi, June 05: The Rashtrapati Bhavan has clarified on the controversy surrounding Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar skipping Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 30.

File photo of Sharad Pawar

In a tweet, Ashok Malik, Press Secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind stated that Pawar's seat was designated in the first row of the VVIP section and not fifth.

"At the swearing-in ceremony on May 30, Sharad Pawar was invited to the "V section", where the most senior guests sat. 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 in a tweet.

This clarification is being issued following inaccurate reports such as the one linked above, as well as some media queries we have received today.

According to various media reports, Pawar boycotted the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan after he found he had been allotted a seat in the fifth row.

After he received the invitation, his office stated that it should be changed since he heads a national party and was CM and Union defence and agriculture minister.

The seat number was then changed but the row stayed the same.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers were sworn in for a second term on May 30 at a grand-ceremony organised in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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