Positive energy, genuine affection: Rahul says Sonia's dinner meet 'fabulous, an opportunity'

Positive energy, genuine affection: Rahul says Sonia's dinner meet 'fabulous, an opportunity'

Sonia Gandhi with other Opposition leaders at the dinner she hosted at 10 Janpath on Tuesday. "Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection" said congress president Rahul Gandhi after the dinner.

Among those who attended were the Nationalist Congress Party's Sharad Power, Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, the Janata Dal United's Sharad Yadav, forMER Bihari chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi (who recently exited the NDA camp to join Bihar's mahagathbandhan), Satish Mishra of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and Badruddin Ajmal of the All India United Democratic Front.

As many as 20 opposition parties are attending the dinner hosted by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi. KCR was seen emerging in South India after he announced to initiate a collaboration of local parties against both national parties - Congress and BJP. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president called the dinner "an opportunity" for leaders to "meet and bond".

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.

It is also noteworthy that Sonia Gandhi took the lead for the get together of the leaders even after Rahul Gandhi has taken over as the Congress President in December a year ago with the feeling in the Opposition that senior leaders would show deference to her more than to her son. However, all three were represented by senior party leaders. "The intention is not political, but to hold discussions in a family-like setting at a time when the nation is confronted with a number of issues, including the farmers' unrest", he said after the dinner. It could not be taken up amid objections raised by opposition parties who have written to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan requesting her intervention.

The tussle started on the issue of the public sector bank frauds when the second half of budget session began on 5 March.

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The Congress put the onus on the government to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.

Asked about government's plans to deal with disruptions by friendly political parties such as the TDP, AIADMK and the TRS, Kumar said they would withdraw their protests if they get to participate in the debate on the general budget.

The BJP on Tuesday blamed the Congress for the impasse in Parliament and dubbed it "anti-democratic", claiming that the party continues to have contempt for democracy as it had during the Emergency.

"After Rahul Gandhi's return from Italy, the Congress has changed its strategy".

He also labelled the Congress a "falling, failing and faltering organisation" and attacked it for not following parliamentary traditions and using Parliament as a mere platform to give speeches.

PTI contributed to the story.

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