In an important development, prominent leaders of almost 20 parties attended a dinner party which was hosted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her Janpath residence. Sources claim that the party was held to look into the possibility of forming a broader unity among these parties before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
According to Congress leaders, the party was meant to promote “amity and friendship”. However, sources say that it was more like a meeting to urge major parties to unite against the NDA. As per reports, leaders of NCP, RJD, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress, DMK and Left parties attended the dinner. Major leaders who attended the event are Sharad Pawar, Ram Gopal Yadav, Satish Chandra Mishra and Omar Abdullah, Babulal Marandi, Hemant Soren, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Sharad Yadav and Ajit Singh.
According to sources, leaders of NCP, RJD, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress, DMK and Left parties attended the dinner among others.
Prominent leaders in attendance were NCP’s Sharad Pawar, SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra and former chief ministers Omar Abdullah, Babulal Marandi, Hemant Soren, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, D Raja, Mohammad Salim, Kanimozhi, Baddrauddin Ajmal, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Sharad Yadav and Ajit Singh. Tejashwi Yadav and Misa Bharti, the two children of Lalu Prasad, represented the RJD.
Apart from Sonia Gandhi, Congress leaders such as president Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel, AK Antony and Randeep Surjewala were present at the party. After the dinner, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Fabulous dinner tonight, hosted by UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi Ji. An opportunity for leaders from different political parties to meet and bond, informally. Much political talk but much more important – tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection.”
However, leaders of Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party, which recently withdrew its ministers from the NDA government, the BJD, and the TRS were not invited.According to most leaders who attended the party, it was the first step towards a comprehensive alliance of the 2019 elections. When quizzed about the leader of the soon-to-be-formed alliance, Tejashwi said,”The time has not yet come to decide on the prime ministerial candidate.”
It must be noted that Sonia Gandhi had earlier urged the opposition parties to unite against the BJP so as to safeguard the interests of the nation. According to her, these parties should set aside their differences to come together in order to keep the BJP out of power.