New Delhi: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday hosted a lunch for Congress MPs and that of the allies, a day ahead of the Vice Presidential election on August 7, as per official sources.
The Congress-led UPA is seeking a second consecutive term for Hamid Ansari.
According to the initial reports, arch rivals, BSP chief Mayawati and veteran SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav attended Sonia’s luncheon.
Gandhi had hosted a similar lunch July 18, a day ahead of the Presidential poll.
According to sources, United Progressive Alliance nominee and incumbent Vice President Hamid Ansari is ahead of his rival Jaswant Singh, backed by the National Democratic Alliance. The lunch would have added to the bonhomie among the alliance partners and the parties supporting it from outside, with the month-long monsoon session of Parliament starting on August 8.
Sources also revealed that a pride of place was given to BSP supremo Mayawati during the course of the lunch. This may be a deliberate attempt by the Congress to send a signal to Mulayam Singh Yadav that it has other friends to count on, should he choose to oppose the coalition on key policy issues.
To be noted is the fact that in the run up to the Presidential election Mulayam Singh Yadav had joined hands with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and had named three candidates of their choice for the top post, virtually taking on the candidates of Sonia Gandhi and rejecting her options.
However there was no report of TMC bigwigs attending the luncheon meeting.
Earlier in the day in a bid to repair the strained ties with Congress, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had instructed its MPs to attend the lunch hosted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
This is a clear indication that barring any last minute hitches, TMC is likely to support Hamid Ansari as the Vice-President of India for a second term.