After Kapil Sibal’s dinner, Sonia Gandhi plans Oppn get-together; Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee among invitees

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Updated: August 12, 2021 11:16 AM

Sonia Gandhi reached out two days after several Opposition leaders turned up at a dinner hosted by Congress leader Kapil Sibal.

Gandhi reached out two days after several Opposition leaders turned up at a dinner hosted by Congress leader Kapil Sibal. (PTI Photo)

With the Congress making renewed attempts to form an alliance to take on the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections in several states, party president Sonia Gandhi is said to have spoken to key Opposition leaders, inviting them for a get-together. However, it is not yet finalised as to when and how this meeting will be held and depends on the availability of the leaders.

The meeting is aimed at cementing the unity displayed by the Opposition parties against the BJP-led government in the Parliament where they tried to corner the latter over issues like the Pegasus spyware and the farmers’ protest.

Interestingly, Gandhi’s reported invitation to party chiefs like Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Uddhav Thackeray and MK Stalin comes two days after Congress leader Kapil Sibal hosted a dinner for these opposition leaders. Sibal is one from the Group of 23 which have been seeking sweeping changes in the party. The dinner gathering at Sibal’s residence was also attended by other G-23 members like veteran Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad, party MP Shashi Tharoor, Bhupendra Singh Hooda, Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari and P Chidambaram.

The dinner was also attended by many important non-UPA leaders like RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, Omar Abdullah from National Conference, Pinaki Mishra of Biju Janta Dal, Naresh Gujral of Shiromani Akali Dal, Sanjay Raut of Shivsena, Sanjay Singh of Aam Admi Party, along with many leaders of TDP, DMK, YSR Congress and TRS.

Following disappearance from the Parliament and public gatherings for quite some time, Sonia Gandhi attended House proceedings on Wednesday – the last day of the Monsoon Session. She also attended the customary tea gathering hosted by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, which saw the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

The scheduled gathering called by Gandhi gains significance in the backdrop of the the Congress being questioned for lack of leadership, including several of its own members. On the other hand, the agenda of the dinner meet at Sibal’s residence was a call for major revamp in the Congress leadership.

All Opposition leaders met Thursday at the Parliament chamber of Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. They will stage a symbolic protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the premises of Parliament House later in the day and also plan to march to Vijay Chowk.

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