Looking to build Oppn unity, Sonia to host 17 parties for dinner

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: File photo of Sonia Gandhi. Photo – PTI

Amid specualtions of a broader front against the BJP-led NDA, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has invited the leaders of 17 opposition parties at her 10 Janpath residence for dinner tonight. Leaders of Trinamool Congress, DMK, Samajwadi Party, RJD, NCP and Left parties will attend the meet.

Leaders of other parties like JD-S, Kerala Congress, Indian Union Muslim League, Revolutionary Socialist Party and RLD are also likely to attend. Janata Dal (United) rebel Sharad Yadav is also expected to attend the dinner.

Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi of Hindustani Awam Morcha, Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and Hemant Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Lalu’s son and Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav is also likely to attend, but there was no immediate confirmation.

However, TDP, BJD and TRS are not invited. The TDP, which walked out of the Union government last week, is still in NDA fold, whereas TRS has been reportedly in touch with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee to forge an alliance.

BJD, which runs state government in Odisha, though is not in a NDA fold, it has never allied with the Congress ever since its inception.

According to reports, the BSP may not send a representative as her party has aligned with JD-S for the Karnataka polls and is fighting the ruling Congress in the state.

Earlier last week, Sonia Gandhi had called for larger 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.

(With inputs from PTI)