Sonia to host dinner for opposition parties today

Elias Hubbard
March 13, 2018

To conjure up a united front against the BJP-NDA, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will on Tuesday have dinner with leaders from 17 parties even though a question mark hangs over the acceptance of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as the joint opposition leader. Dinner conversation is expected to revolve around uniting against the BJP ahead of the 2019 national election when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek a second term. However, amid the feud between the Telgu Desham Party (TDP) of Andhra Pradesh, Lead by Chandrabhanu Naidu, has not been invited to the dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi.TDP made headlines after it recently pulled out two of its ministers' from PM Modi's government. The BJD and TRS rule Odisha and Telangana respectively.

Meanwhile, the Congress is concerned about TMC chief Mamata Banerjee who may be harbouring ambitions of leading the alliance which in no way would be acceptable to the Congress.

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, DMK's Kanimozhi and Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party are likely to be present, and so would be leaders of left parties - CPM's Sitaram Yechury and CPI's D Raja.

"The NCP and Pawar feel that without the Congress, there cannot be any opposition front against the BJP". The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Hemand Soren also welcomed Mr Rao's initiative.

"The chief minister (Banerjee) is slated to be on a tour of north Bengal districts as that had been scheduled much in advance", one of her MPs told TOI, when asked about TMC attending the dinner for Opposition parties by the Congress leader. Jeetan Ram Manjhi of Bihar and Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand will also attend the meet. A united opposition has disrupted parliament for over a week now, ever since it convened for the rest of the budget session after a recess.

At other dinners hosted by Mrs Gandhi for these 17 other opposition parties, a united approach to the presidential and vice presidential elections past year were discussed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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