Sonia Gandhi's dinner diplomacy: Political foes come together, set to raise toast against BJP
Putting their past differences aside, political leaders from opposition parties are set to join hands to possibly mount an offensive against BJP's growing influence across the country.
New Delhi: Tuesday's dinner at Sonia Gandhi's residence promises to be no ordinary affair. After all, political leaders cutting across party lines are all set to possibly put aside their minor differences for the 'larger good' - that of mounting a challenge to BJP and its allies. The power-packed guest list includes NCP chief Sharad Pawar, TMC's Mamata Banerjee, RJD scion Tejaswi Yadav and AIUDF President Badruddin Ajmal - all of whom have had grouches against one another at some point in the political past.
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. The recent triumphs in the north-eastern states have further emboldened BJP and demoralised opposition parties. The dinner then is expected to have generous doses of political strategising on how best to mount a strong-enough attack. Sonia, the host for the evening, has already called for 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. And so, invitations have gone out to Pawar - once very vocal against Sonia's foreign origins, Mamata - a strong critic of scams under UPA regime like 2G, Tejaswi - son of Lalu Yadav who had once said Congress bent on wiping him off from India's political scene, and Badruddin - whose offer of an alliance was rejected by Congress in 2016.
Minor or not, differences have existed between most political leaders who find themselves on Sonia's guestlist which also includes new Congress ally Jitan Ram Manjhi, Rashtriya Lok Dal's Ajit Singh apart from leaders from BSP, SP, CPM's Sitaram Yechuri, CPI's D Raja and Janata Dal United's Sharad Yadav.
Representing Congress - apart from Sonia herself - would be party President Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Janardan Dwivedi and Jyotiraditya Scindia. So, even as BJP officials are mocking the dinner as 'Last Supper', Congress is pinning its hopes on the fact that its leaders and others from the opposition finally do manage to raise a toast against the current dispensation.