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Mission 2019: Sonia Gandhi hosts dinner to opposition parties

Mission 2019: Sonia Gandhi hosts dinner to opposition parties

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has chose to attend the dinner being hosted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday night which will be attended leaders of 17 opposition parties, amid talk of forging a broader front against the BJP-led NDA ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Apart from showing off two additional parties in the Opposition kitty - Jiten Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha and Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha - the dinner meet is seen as an attempt by the Congress to project itself, or rather its president Rahul Gandhi, as the leader of any Opposition alliance before 2019 general elections. "The dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi ji for Opposition parties should not be seen from the prism of politics, it was for friendship and better dialogue between parties". Trinmool Congress chief mamta Banerjee had also reflected the discordance in the past and launched consultations with regional parties to form a "federal front" and even offered its leadership to TRS chief K Chandrasekhara rao. The CPI (M) - battered after losing Tripura, its citadel of 25 years, to the BJP earlier this month - also seems to have shed its impractical stubbornness to not ally with the Congress and sent leaders Mohammed Salim and TK Rangarajan for the dinner while the CPI was represented by veteran leader D Raja.

After the dinner meeting, Congress President, Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that there was positive energy and genuine affection during dinner.

Truce eluded the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and a united opposition for the seventh consecutive day of the budget session on Tuesday with virtually no business being conducted in the disruption-hit Houses of Parliament. An opportunity for leaders from different political parties to meet and bond, informally. Kumar also requested Congress and other parties to let the House function. "Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", Rahul Gandhi tweeted later. "It was a political dinner". "It was a political dinner but there were no political talks".

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All 17 opposition parties have confirmed their attendance for Sonia's dinner. "I told her it was because of her prior commitments", said TMC leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay. Instead, it will continue at NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence at the end of March, senior NCP leaders have said.

Sonia, the host for the evening, has already 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.

Pawar has confirmed his visit to 10 Janpath.


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