SP and BSP leaders attend Sonia Gandhi's dinner

SP and BSP leaders attend Sonia Gandhi's dinner

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president called the dinner "an opportunity" for leaders to "meet and bond".

The RJD was represented by the son and daughter of party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav- former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav and Misa Bharti. "Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection" said congress president Rahul Gandhi after the dinner.

Though the Congress party saying that the dinner should not be looked through a prism of politics, it could be guessed that inviting opposition party leaders for dinner is a first step forward towards building a united opposition to break the winning streak of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Gandhi scion shared a photograph of his interaction with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Khadge.

TRS chief and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao also spoke enthusiastically about a federal front.

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 previous year, as it was believed that senior Opposition leaders would show more deference to her than they would to her son.

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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.

He claimed 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. A senior BSP leader though confirmed that it has approached both SP and Congress, as well as RLD, requesting them to issue a whip to vote in favour of their Rajya Sabha candidate on March 23, but no talks were held on an alliance for 2019 elections.

He accused the government of running away from debates on the Rs. 12,600 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case and failing to tackle unemployment and difficulties faced by farmers.

He said opposition leaders got together to discuss issues in the national interest, create bonhomie in the opposition and exchange views. Though the Congress termed the dinner as a "non-political" event, it was loaded with political significance as it may set the tone for unity among secular parties to take on the BJP-led NDA in the 2019 general elections. However, all three were represented by senior party leaders.

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

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