A day after assuming charge as Congress president, Rahul Gandhi hosted a dinner for party MPs and senior leaders as well as leaders of opposition parties. A number of senior opposition leaders attended the dinner here along with Congress MPs and the party’s state chiefs and legislative party leaders, a move viewed as an attempt to bring them closer to Rahul Gandhi. Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party Sonia Gandhi, former president Pranab Mukherjee, former vice president Hamid Ansari and former prime minister Manmohan Singh were also present. The dinner comes at a time when the opposition is seeking to corner the government on various issues in the truncated winter session of the Parliament that started on December 15. The opposition will formalise its strategy soon after the Assembly election results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh tomorrow.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, NCP leader Praful Patel, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, former JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav, RJD’s Misa Bharati and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav also attended the event. “We greeted Rahul Gandhi on his elevation during the dinner,” said CPI national secretary D Raja, also present there.
Though Congress leaders said it is a customary dinner organised during the Parliament session, some view the effort as a an attempt to bring them closer to Rahul Gandhi. Rahul took charge of the Congress party’s reins yesterday at a formal function from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who remained at the helm for 19 years.