Former President and Congress stalwart Pranab Mukherjee is all set to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the first time after attending the much-hyped event hosted by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. Gandhi has sent an invite to Mukherjee who has accepted the same. Earlier, there was speculation over whether the Congress chief would invite Mukherjee, and whether the latter will accept the invite or not. Mukherjee had recently attended an RSS event, drawing a lot of criticism from his party and the Gandhi family. However, his speech was later hailed by the Congress.
The news of Mukherjee’s coming to the party was confirmed by the Congress on Monday after certain reports stated that former was not invited. “Multiple media houses have raised questions on Iftaar invite to @CitiznMukherjee on behalf of Congress President.” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted. “Congress President has extended an invite to Pranab Mukherjee and he has graciously accepted. Hope this will set to rest unwarranted speculation,” he said.
“To set the record straight, may I point out that Pranab dada had attended the last Iftar get together organised by then Congress President Sonia Gandhi too. Bereft of unwarranted issues, let compassion and friendship for all guide us in the holy month of Ramadan,” he added.
Gandhi’s Iftaar gains significance as it comes at a time when the opposition is clamoring 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 of all faiths.
Top leaders including Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav and others are set to attend the event. An IANS report said that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has recently parted ways with the BJP, has also been invited. While leaders of almost all like-minded parties have been invited, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is not on the list, The Indian Express reports.
The Congress is hosting an Iftar party after a gap of two years, the first for Rahul Gandhi after taking over as Congress chief. Another precedent set this year regarding Iftaar was the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s decision not to host the post-Ramadaan party this year, with President Ram Nath Kovind stating that there should no religious observance at taxpayer’s expense at the public building.