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

Sonia Gandhi hosts dinner for Opposition parties spokesperson says meet ‘not political

"This dinner is not for politics, but it is natural that when government is taking no interest in running the government then all the opposition leaders who when they meet will discuss politics as well as discuss issues of national interest", Randeep Surjewala, Congress chief spokesperson told reporters after the dinner.

Leaders of 20 Opposition parties on Tuesday night got together at a dinner hosted by UPA.

"Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", he wrote, and tagged a group photo of the attendees.

Former chief ministers of Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and Hemant Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha will attend the dinner, along with former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, who recently quit the NDA and joined forces with Lalu Prasad's RJD.

Sonia Gandhi has called for opposition unity and said parties should set aside their minor differences to get together in the larger interest of keeping the BJP out of power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. KCR was seen emerging in South India after he announced to initiate a collaboration of local parties against both national parties - Congress and BJP. Political leaders including Sharad Yadav, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party's (SP) Ramgopal Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) Satish Mishra along with other leaders attended the dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi.

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.

Left and TMC leaders who were present said it was certainly a "political dinner without political talks".


There had been some confusion after Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee took the initiative of contacting anti-Congress parties like the TRS.

In Parliament, the immediate casualty of the deadlock was the Finance Bill, 2018 which was listed for consideration and passage on Tuesday.

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.

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

He also labelled the Congress a "falling, failing and faltering organisation" and attacked it for not following parliamentary traditions and using Parliament as a mere platform to give speeches. "Congress doesn't have democracy in its genes", parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said.

The dinner was hosted at the 10 Janpath residence where the leaders discussed the possibilities of all Opposition parties getting together to defeat BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. "If we were not interested in discussions, we would not have given adjournment motions".

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