Currently on a strike, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal is missing from the list of invitees for Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s grand Iftar party that otherwise includes almost all leaders of “like-minded parties.” It is reported that Congress’ Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken has apprehensions on sharing a platform with Kejriwal. Notably, Kejriwal was also the only leader who didn’t attend the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. Kejriwal is currently on a dharna inside the office of Delhi L-G Anil Baijal, pressing for a number of demands.
Top leaders including Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav have been invited by Gandhi. As per an IANS report, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, who recently parted ways with BJP, has also been invited.
This will be the first time when former President and Congress stalwart Pranab Mukherjee will meet Rahul Gandhi after attending the much-hyped event hosted by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh a few days ago. Gandhi has sent an invite to Mukherjee, who has accepted the same.
The news of Mukherjee coming to the party was confirmed by the Congress on Monday after certain reports stated that the former was not invited. “Congress President has extended an invite to Pranab Mukherjee and he has graciously accepted. Hope this will set to rest unwarranted speculation,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala confirmed on Twitter.
What makes Iftar significant?
Rahul Gandhi’s Iftar gains significance as it comes at a time when the opposition is trying hard to form for an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections. The party is expected to see a host of leaders from all opposition parties and other religious/cultural organisations at the event.
Rahul Gandhi’s Iftar comes after a gap of two years, the first since he took over as Congress chief. Another precedent set this year regarding Iftaar was the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s decision not to host the party. President Ram Nath Kovind stated that there should be no religious observance at the taxpayer’s expense at the public building.