Opposition Parties Come Together To Promote 'Friendship' At Sonia Gandhi's Dinner

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KCR got support from various parties in first place, and he is set to meet leaders of regional parties and bureaucrats after the ongoing budget session in Telangana.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "Dinner hosted by Sonia ji for Opposition parties should not be seen from the prism of politics, it was for friendship and better dialogue between parties". Party leaders said the group was expanding with Manjhi and Marandi coming to attend the dinner.

Surjewala said at a time when the Centre was not allowing Parliament to function, it was obvious that leaders of various parties would get together to discuss the current political situation.

Sharad Yadav of the Bharatiya Tribal Party, Mohammad Salim of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), D Raja of the Communist Party of India, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Hemant Soren, All India United Democratic Front's Badruddin Ajmal, Kerala Congress (Mani) leader Jose K Mani, D Kupendra Reddy from the Janata Dal (Secular), NK Premachandran of Revolutionary Socialist Party and Indian Union Muslim League's PK Kunhalikutty were also in attendance.

Among those present was Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who attended the dinner amid talk about his intention to float a separate federal front with regional parties.

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Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, and senior Congress leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel, AK Antony, and Randeep Singh Surjewala were also present at 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. 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.

In the letter, opposition parties have pointed out that there was no discussion on tabling the Finance Bill during the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting and that the government had listed the bill without informing any political party in advance. He also accused the government of running away from debate on key issues such as banking frauds.

Earlier in the day, the BJP hit out at the Congress. "It was a show of strength by the non-BJP parties", a Left leader told PTI.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Gandhi's dinner politics will be only about dinner as the BJP, under Modi, remains a victor with ruling NDA attracting more allies.

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