Vice President Poll: UPA projects unity



New Delhi: Projecting a united face on the eve of Vice Presidential poll, all constituents of UPA and those supporting it from outside including arch rivals Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati attended a lunch hosted by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Samajwadi Party chief Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati attended the luncheon at Hotel Ashok here. The two bitter foes in UP politics have not attended a function together for the last many years.

While Mayawati shared the table with Sonia Gandhi, Yadav was seated next to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh separately. However, the chiefs of the BSP and the SP did not exchange any pleasantries.

Mayawati did not respond when asked about it while AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, who is the in-charge of Congress affairs for Uttar Pradesh merely said,"this is the strength of Uttar Pradesh".

Trinamool Congress, which is likely to formally declare its support to UPA Vice Presidential nominee Hamid Ansari by tonight after its party meeting, was in full attendance with many of its MPs including Union Ministers Sudip Bandyopadhyay and C M Jatua present there. TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee however, did not not attend the luncheon.

"It is good that people across all parties are supporting good candidates," said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla when asked to comment on support gaining ground for Ansari's candidature.

Bandyopadhyay, as well as NCP chief Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule shared the table with Sonia Gandhi. During the lunch, Gandhi also held brief interactions with Sule. Union Ministers Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel could not attend the luncheon meeting as they were away from Delhi.

"There is no political message in their absence" said senior NCP leader D P Tripathi when asked why the two leaders did not come.

PTI