New Delhi, March 13: Congress former president Sonia Gandhi hosted a dinner for Opposition leaders on Tuesday. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, A.K. Antony and Mallikarjun Kharge were also present on the occasion, where possibilities of putting up a united front to defeat ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in upcoming 2019 elections were discussed.
However, Congress’ communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said that the dinner was not organised for politics, but for friendship among opposition parties. Hitting out at the Centre, the Congress leader claimed that at a time when the government was not allowing Parliament to function, it was obvious that leaders of various parties, who wanted to raise issues in national interest, would get together to discuss the current political situation.
He also accused the government of running away from a debate on key issues such as banking frauds.
Addressing media, after the meet, Surjewala said, “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. The dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi ji for Opposition parties should not be seen from the prism of politics, it was for friendship and better dialogue between parties.”
Tejashwi Yadav said,”20 opposition parties attended today’s dinner and are united, NDA is disintegrating with TDP and Shiv Sena miffed, it is due to BJP’s dominating attitude.”
The prominent leaders in attendance were National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Chandra Misra, All India United Democratic Front’s Badrauddin Ajmal, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Misa Bharti and Tejashwi Yadav, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Hemant Soren, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Mohammad Salim, and Communist Party of India’s D. Raja.
IUML’s P. K. Kunhalikutty, Kerala Congress-Mani’ Jose K. Mani, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik’s Babulal Marandi, 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.