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Seating issue: Prez Pranab telephones BJP leaders

August 16, 2012 22:19 IST

President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday telephoned Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L K Advani, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj after reports suggested that they were upset about the seating arrangements made at the 'At Home' function on the occasion of Independence Day.

"The President telephoned all the three leaders and assured them that their views will be considered for future functions," President's Press Secretary Venu Rajamony said.

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 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.

"The officials at the Rashtrapati Bhavan only followed the past practice," Rajamony said, adding, "the President also assured the leaders necessary changes will be made."

Apart from Ravi Shankar Prasad, top BJP leaders have not been seen at the 'At Home' functions hosted by former President Pratibha Patil.

Mukherjee had made it a point to greet all the BJP leaders individually at Wednesday's function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The security ring around the VVIP venue was reduced to bare minimum and the President also chose to move out and mingle with the gathering at the sprawling lawns of Mughal gardens.
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