UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi hosts dinner today; TDP, BJD, TRS not invited

Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament during second phase of budget session in New Delhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament during second phase of budget session in New Delhi

Apart from NCP, SP and BSP leaders, Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) Tejashwi Yadav, Hindustani Awam Morcha's (HAM) Jitan Ram Manjhi, National Conference's (NC) Omar Abdullah, JVM's Babulal Marandi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)'s Kanimozhi and All India United Democratic Front's (AIUDF) Badruddin Ajmal also attended the dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi.

Team Congress was represented by Gandhi and party president Rahul Gandhi, as well as top leaders such as Dr Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony and Randeep Singh Surjewala.

The well-attended dinner Sonia Gandhi hosted on Tuesday night has diluted speculation about a sub-plot emerging as a counter to Congress supremacy in the anti-BJP grouping, with senior leaders asserting there was no threat to Opposition unity at all. "Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", said Rahul Gandhi. "An opportunity for leaders from different political parties to meet and bond, informally", Rahul Gandhi tweeted after the dinner.

Media reports said leaders of Andhra Pradesh's ruling Telugu Desam Party, which recently pulled out its ministers in the Modi government but continues to be a constituent of the NDA, the BJD, and the TRS were not invited.

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TRS chief and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao also spoke enthusiastically about a federal front. "It was for friendship and better dialogue between parties:", he said.

"Laluji's (RJD supremo Lalu Prasad) effort to have a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) at the national level, this was a positive move towards that", he said and accused the BJP-led government of political vendetta against its opponents.

Sonia Gandhi hosted the opposition dinner at 10 Janpath.

Outside, Sharad Yadav spoke of the dinner as one step closer to lining up the opposition on the same side at the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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A total of 20 opposition parties on Tuesday held the government responsible for the ongoing imnpasse in Parliament and resolved to ensure discussion in both houses on issues of public importance like the bank scams and farmers' distress.

Sonia Gandhi had earlier called for opposition unity, saying parties should set aside their minor differences to come together in the larger interest of keeping the BJP out of power.

Those conspicuous by their absence included Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal C M Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

"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. I told her it was because of her prior commitments", said TMC leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

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