New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday directed officials to ensure special seating arrangements for Leaders of Opposition in the Parliament during functions at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The direction from Mukherjee came after top BJP leaders, who had attended an 'At Home' function on August 15, were reportedly upset over the seating arrangements in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The President today directed for a special seating arrangements for Leaders of Opposition in Parliament on important functions held at Rashtrapati Bhavan," President's Press Secretary Venu Rajamony said.

Mukherjee has on Thursday telephoned BJP leaders L K Advani, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj after reports suggested that they were upset about the seating arrangements on the occasion of Independence Day.

The BJP leaders, who were seen at the 'At Home' function after a gap of five years, were in an enclosure along with Cabinet ministers, diplomats and judges besides senior bureaucrats, away from the VVIP enclosure.

Besides the President, others in the VVIP enclosure had included Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vimla Sharma, wife of late former President S D Sharma.

Mukherjee has also asked for a special seating arrangements for senior political leaders during swearing-in ceremonies after reports suggested that Advani was upset for being pushed to fourth row during the swearing-in ceremony of Vice-President Hamid Ansari at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The leaders of political parties should get important place at such functions," Rajamony said quoting from the President's directive in this regard.


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