19 opposition parties attend dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi

Opposition parties at sonia gandhi's dinner

In a bid to stitch a pan India coalition of opposition parties against the BJP led NDA, former Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday hosted a dinner here.

As per Congress' sources, the senior political leaders that are likely to be present at the dinner include Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, DMK's Kanimozhi and Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.

Asked about government's plans to deal with disruptions by friendly political parties such as the TDP, AIADMK and the TRS, Kumar said they would withdraw their protests if they get to participate in the debate on the general budget.

Besides Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and party leaders Ahmed Patel, and A.K. Antony were among those present.

The dinner followed four different appeals from Congress in recent weeks that the opposition parties join hands to defeat the BJP at the Centre.

The Telugu Desam Party, which has withdrawn its two ministers from the Modi government but continues to be a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), was not invited.

BJP plays down Sonia dinner
Sonia Gandhi Hosts Dinner For The Opposition Party Leaders A Move To Tackle BJP

According to top NCP sources, Sharad Pawar has called a meet of all opposition leaders, including the Congress, to discuss a strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the dinner should not be seen as a political event.

"When the government does not have interest to run Parliament, then it is natural that leaders of opposition parties, who are concerned about the problems faced by the people, will discuss the country's politics".

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with P. K. Kunhalikutty and Revolutionary Socialist Party's N. K. Premachandran during a dinner hosted by her at her residence in New Delhi on March 13, 2018. "The intention is not political, but to hold discussions in a family-like setting at a time when the nation is confronted with a number of issues, including the farmers' unrest", he said after the dinner.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said the the effort is on to get the opposition united.

The timing of the dinner is important as it comes not just in the middle of a stormy Parliament session - where the Opposition is keen to corner the government over alleged bank scams - but also amid talk of forging a Third Front of regional parties ahead of the 2019 polls without mentioning the Congress.

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