Mission 2019: Sonia Gandhi hosts dinner to opposition parties

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to guard against Prime Minister Narendra Modi creating a pro-poor wave in favour of the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections

The Biju Janata Dal was also not represented.

There was some confusion after Mamata Banerjee took the initiative of contacting anti-Congress parties like the TRS and Telangana chief minister enthusiastically talked about a federal front.

The congress leaders who attended the meeting include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, opposition leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and another senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala. Party leaders Ahmed Patel and A K Antony also attended the dinner.

Congress party former chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday hosted dinner for leaders from the opposition parties. Former deputy chief minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav also attended, calling the dinner a "step forwards towards opposition unity".

The others present at the dinner included TMC's Sudip Bandyopadhyay, CPI-M's D Raja and Mohammad Salim, DMK's Kanimozhi, AIUDF's Baddruddin Ajmal and leaders of Kerala Congress, besides Kupender Reddy of the JD-S.

Grouches count for little at a time when the opposition fears BJP wave to have enough momentum to help the party retain power in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.

Questioned on the spree of gunfights - 1,200 in 11 months leaving more than 45 criminals dead, Adityanath said the message was loud and clear that maintaining law and order and ensuring safety and security of the people was his top priority.

Buoyed by the victory, a number of opposition leaders including RJD's Tejashwi Yadav and veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav on Wednesday called for a Grand Alliance at the national level to defeat the BJP.

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

Tuesday's dinner at Sonia Gandhi's residence promises to be no ordinary affair. But increasingly Opposition leaders seem to prefer the option of political parties coming together to tap voters' anger.

"Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", Gandhi said in a tweet. "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". "It was a political dinner". The situation today is unarguably grimmer for the Congress, led now by her son, which holds power in just three states while the BJP has painted 21 of India's provinces saffron.

All 17 opposition parties have confirmed their attendance for Sonia's dinner.

The dinner she had hosted at her residence on February 5, 2004 - days after then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee made a decision to call for early general elections in the hope that his "India Shining" slogan would help the BJP-led NDA retain power - had marked the first step of the Congress' revival plan for the hustings following successive drubbings in state polls.

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