Sharad Pawar to host opposition meet by end of March: NCP

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

United Progressive Alliance chairperson and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi hosted leaders of several Opposition parties at her residence in New Delhi on Tuesday evening, ANI reported.

He also said the leaders reflected tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection.

While Sonia issued the first plea in the meeting of opposition parties on February 1, Rahul took the cue to argue that state-level rivalries could be resolved for the larger battle against BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The meeting is likely to be held on either March 27 or 28. An opportunity for leaders from different political parties to meet and bond, informally.

However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the dinner should not be seen as a political event.

The Congress chief Rahul Gandhi described the dinner meet as one that created "positive energy, warmth and genuine affection".

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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.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said the the effort is on to get the opposition united. NCP chief Sharad Pawar came for the dinner along with leaders of Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, DMK, RJD, JMM and the Left among others.

"When the government does not have interest to run Parliament, then it is natural that leaders of opposition parties, who are concerned about the problems faced by the people, will discuss the country's politics".

The timing of the dinner is important as it comes not just in the middle of a stormy Parliament session - where the Opposition is keen to corner the government over alleged bank scams - but also amid talk of forging a Third Front of regional parties ahead of the 2019 polls without mentioning the Congress.

The prominent leaders in attendance were NCP's Sharad Pawar, SP's Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP's Satish Chandra Misra and former chief ministers Omar Abdullah, Babulal Marandi, Hemant Soren and Jiten Ram Manjhi, besides JD (U)'s Sharad Yadav and RLD's Ajit Singh.

Seventeen opposition parties had come together against the BJP-led NDA during the presidential and vice-presidential elections previous year and Sonia Gandhi has been holding occasional meetings to nurture the bonding. "Congress doesn't have democracy in their genes", Kumar said after theParliamentary Board meeting" BJP Parliamentary Board meeting.

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