'Discourtesy and ill-treatment' to 85-year-old senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani at President Pranab Mukherjee's 'At Home' function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan by not providing a seat for senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely is now turning out to be a major political issue.
Sources say that senior leaders Advani, Swaraj and Jaitley were not accommodated a seat in the special enclosure in Mugal Gardens, but were made to stand in a queue formation -- while UPAII Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior ministers were given seats to chat with the President and prime minister.
This is the second consecutive occasion at Rashtrapati Bhavan that Advani was 'ill-treated'.
At the vice president's swearing in ceremony, Advani was given a fourth row seat. A source says that Wednesday's incident indicates that the UPA wants to 'dump' the National Democratic Alliance. Insiders in BJP refuse to buy the theory that after Advani termed the UPAII as illegitimate, such discourtesy has begun.
On Thursday a final call will be taken at the NDA meeting at 9 am at the Parliament House. "We plan to raise this issue at the appropriate forum -- a communication from the BJP is likely to be sent to the President, the prime minister and presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha," a senior BJP leader said.
"We shall not tolerate this discourtesy," said a highly-placed BJP source.