A video of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been shared with the claim that the ex-PM was made to vacate his seat for Gandhi. Twitter user @Muralik79739498 uploaded the video with the caption, “First time I am seeing a PM being told to move to other chair.”

The clip has been doing the rounds on social media at least since 2017.

Fact-check

A keyword search ‘Manmohan Singh Sonia Gandhi seat’ on YouTube throws up a 2011 report by India TV as the first result.

The channel reported that during a UPA meeting, Sonia Gandhi sat on the seat assigned to Manmohan Singh by the Special Protection Group (SPG). “When Special Protection Group officials noticed this, they first requested Sonia Gandhi to vacate the PM’s seat, and another official told the PM in his ear that he should shift to Sonia Gandhi’s seat,” reported India TV.

SPG is an elite force that provides security to the Prime Minister, former PMs and their family members. The SPG Act was amended twice to bring down the period of automatic protection to one year “from the date on which the former prime minister ceased to hold office” and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the government.

According to the SPG protocol, protected persons have to sit in their designated seats which is why Sonia Gandhi had to swap her place with Manmohan Singh as she inadvertently sat on the PM’s designated seat. A 2011 video of the same is frequently shared to claim that the former Prime Minister was disrespected.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.