New Delhi, June 11: Congress President Rahul Gandhi is set to host an Iftar party in the national capital on June 13, with the guest list expected to be a high-profile one including a galaxy of top political leaders.
However, if reports are to be believed, the list of invitees does not include names like former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Vice President Hamid Ansari.
Meanwhile, a Congress leader refuted the report of Mukherjee’s name being avoided in Congress’ Iftar party list. “Pranab da is a part and parcel of this party. If we are sending out invitations to every other party, why not him. There has been no directive from the party high command to not invite him,” the leader was quoted by DNA as saying.
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Remarkably, the report of Mukherjee not being invited for the Iftar party comes just days after the former President attended an event organised by the RSS in Nagpur.
Mukherjee accepting the invite by the RSS was criticised by several Congress leaders, including his own daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee and senior party leader Ahmed Patel.
However, following the former President’s speech in Nagpur, the Congress retracted from its stand, appreciating Mukherjee for showing the “mirror of truth” to the RSS by “reminding them of India’s pluralism, tolerance, secularism and inclusiveness as an article of faith and soul of the country”.
For Rahul Gandhi, this will be the first occasion to host an Iftar ever since he took charge as the Congress chief.
Congress’ decision to resume Iftar comes days after President Ram Nath Kovind decided to discontinue the feast traditionally held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
On the other hand, Congress’ Iftar party will be keenly watched as it may turn out to be a show of power by the anti-BJP parties, with the Grand Old Party positioning itself as the centre of the opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The resumption of Iftar also comes at a time when the Congress is seen to be pursuing a policy of soft Hindutva as evidenced in Rahul Gandhi’s several recent temple visits.