March 23, 2018

Dinner boost to Opposition unity

14 March 2018, 09:44 | Taylor George

Amit Shah | Amit Shah's official Twitter handle @AmitShah

Amit Shah

Congress party president Rahul Gandhi said, in a tweet, 'Fabulous dinner tonight, hosted by Sonia Gandhi opportunity for leaders from different political parties to meet and bond, informally.

Gandhi on Tuesday hosted a dinner for opposition politicos in which leaders of 20 parties, including the Congress, attended.

This can be seen as an attempt to made an anti-BJP alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Indian Union Muslim League 's P. K. Kunhalikutty, Jose K. Mani of the Kerala Congress (Mani) party, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik's Babulal Marandi, the Revolutionary Socialist Party's N. K. Premachandran, veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal's Ajit Singh and Janata Dal-Secular's Kupendra Reddy were also present, as was Hindustan Awam Morcha leader Jiten Ram Manjhi, who quit the National Democratic Alliance last month.

"Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", he wrote, and tagged a group photo of the attendees.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel were among the Congress biggies who were present at the dinner.

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The RJD was represented by the son and daughter of party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav- former deputy.

It is also noteworthy that Sonia Gandhi organized and hosted the dinner get-together, even after Rahul Gandhi took over as Congress president in December of past year, as it was believed that senior Opposition leaders would show more deference to her than they would to her son. Sonia Gandhi had earlier called for Opposition unity, saying parties should set aside their minor differences to get together in the larger interest of keeping the BJP out of power. "The intention is not political, but to hold discussions in family-like setting at a time when the nation is confronted with a number of issues and thousands of crores being taken out of the country", Surjewala told reporters after the dinner.

He claimed that the Congress was running away from a debate on the PNB scam as it "feared" that many skeletons in its cupboard will tumble out if a debate took place.

The visit by the three UP leaders comes at a time when Rajya Sabha elections to 10 seats have turned into a big controversy after BJP hinted at disallowing BSP to elect their parliamentarian with support from both SP's 10 extra MLAs and Congress's seven MLAs.

Mamata Banerjee had recently spoken to several key regional party leaders to renew the focus on efforts at forming a non-BJP platform. "This is our duty to let it work and the government has been doing everything to ensure that it happens", said Ananth Kumar, parliamentary affairs minister.

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