Hoping to build a grand alliance before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to halt Modi-Shah's poll juggernaut, the much talked about UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's dinner attracted leaders from 19 opposition parties.
Leaders of other parties like JD-S and Kerala Congress, Indian Union Muslim League, Revolutionary Socialist Party and RLD are also likely to attend.
Posting a few pictures from the dinner meet, Mr. Gandhi tweeted, "Fabulous dinner tonight, hosted by UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi Ji. Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", said Rahul Gandhi.
Among those who attended the dinner were former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Opposiiton in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, rebel JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Ram Gopal Yadav of SP, Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP, Kanimozhi of DMK, Omar Abdullah of NC, Tejaswi Yadav of RJD, Mohd Saleem and T Rangrajan of the CPM and D Raja of the CPI.
"At a time when the government is trying to create walls", he said, "we are making way to travel together by forging friendships and bringing harmony". An opportunity for leaders from different political parties to meet and bond, informally.
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. According to sources, leaders of Andhra Pradesh's ruling Telugu Desam Party, which recently pulled out its ministers in the Modi government but continues to be a constituent of the NDA, the BJD, and the TRS were not invited.
Seventeen opposition parties had come together against the BJP-led NDA during the presidential and vice-presidential elections past year and Sonia Gandhi has been holding occasional meetings to nurture the bonding.
TRS chief and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao also spoke enthusiastically about a federal front.
Lalu's son and Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav is also likely to attend the dinner but there was no confirmation.
The dinner hosted by Mrs Gandhi is expected to set the tone for opposition unity in the run-up to the next general elections.
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.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said the the effort is on to get the opposition united. He also accused the Government of running away from a debate on key issues such as banking frauds. Sonia Gandhi asked me why Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) didn't come.
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