Sonia Gandhi to host dinner to unite opposition leaders and to forge anti-BJP front

Sonia Gandhi to host dinner to unite opposition leaders and to forge anti-BJP front

The senior Congress leader and former party president has invited leaders of the opposition for dinner on March 13 to lay the foundation for an anti-BJP front ahead of the next Lok Sabha election.

New Delhi: Congress parliamentary party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi will host a dinner for leaders of opposition parties on March 13 in a bid to bring all non-NDA parties on one platform ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections.

The dinner meeting will be held at her residence at 10, Janpath in Delhi, said a Congress leader familiar with the development. It comes days after the BJP crushed the CPM in Tripura and formed governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya in alliance with regional parties. Gandhi had on February 1 chaired a meeting of leaders of 17 opposition parties and called for a united front against the BJP.

Prior to that, Gandhi had told a CPP meeting she will work with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other colleagues in discussions with like-minded, political parties to ensure that in the next election, the BJP is defeated and India is restored to a “democratic, inclusive, secular, tolerant and economically progressive” path.

While Gandhi has pushed for a broad-based opposition unity, her party has refused to withdraw its candidates for the Lok Sabha by-elections from two seats — Gorakhpur and Phulpur — in UP on March 11 in favour of SP. Mayawati’s BSP has already declared its support to the SP.

Congress general secretary in-charge of UP, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said both he and the party president had separately urged SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to leave one seat for them but he declined. “We told him to contest on the seat where his party is strong and leave the other for Congress. But he flatly refused,” Azad said.

“Had all regional parties cooperated in all by-elections so far, Congress would have got the Leader of the Opposition status,” he added.

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