20 opposition parties attend Sonia Gandhi dinner

20 opposition parties attend Sonia Gandhi dinner

20 opposition parties attend Sonia Gandhi dinner

Congress party former chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday hosted dinner for leaders from the opposition parties. The Biju Janata Dal, the Aam Aadmi Party led by Delgi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi who was once a part of the UPA, the AIADMK, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the YSR Congress Party and the Shiv Sena were also not invited to the dinner.

Fabulous dinner tonight, hosted by UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi Ji. "Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", said Rahul Gandhi.

Sharad Pawar of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party (SP), Tejashwi Yadav and Misa Bharti of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Omar Abdullah of National Conference (NC), Hemant Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) were among other leaders who were present for the dinner.

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 a year ago, as it was believed that senior Opposition leaders would show more deference to her than they would to her son. KCR was seen emerging in South India after he announced to initiate a collaboration of local parties against both national parties - Congress and BJP.

With the collaboration of all these parties, Congress is wanting to make a comeback in national politics and this is the first diplomatic step towards it. Party leaders said the group was expanding with Manjhi and Marandi coming to attend the dinner. It could not be taken up amid objections raised by opposition parties who have written to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan requesting her intervention.

Asking all parties to let the house function, Mr Kumar said the government wants to have "meaningful discussions".

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.

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Earlier in the day, the BJP hit out at the Congress.

Mamata Banerjee had recently spoken to several key regional party leaders to renew the focus on efforts at forming a non-BJP platform.

"Congress continues to have a repressive mindset toward democracy".

The Centre wants the ongoing Budget Session to run its full course till April 6 and transact maximum business, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said on Tuesday, aiming to put an end to speculations that the session which has failed to transact any business in its second leg, may be curtailed.

Mr Kumar added that Congress president Rahul Gandhi went overseas because he could not face defeat in the elections.

PTI contributed to the story.

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