Sharad Pawar to host opposition meet by end of March: NCP

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to guard against Prime Minister Narendra Modi creating a pro-poor wave in favour of the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to guard against Prime Minister Narendra Modi creating a pro-poor wave in favour of the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections

Congress chief spokesperson Surjewala, however, said the dinner was not organised for politics but for amity and friendship among Opposition parties. "Tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", tweeted the Congress chief along with a photograph of all the leaders who attended the dinner.

Asking all parties to let the house function, Mr Kumar said the government wants to have "meaningful discussions".

"The opposition parties are united. and the NDA breaking apart", he said, pointing to Chandrababu Naidu's TDP and the Shiv Sena, the BJP ally from Maharashtra that has increasingly been its sharpest critic.

"You can also see NDA allies are also angry. TRS is not happy".

"Laluji's (RJD supremo Lalu Prasad) effort to have a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) at the national level, this was a positive move towards that", he said and accused the BJP-led government of political vendetta against its opponents.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters the leaders discussed ways to fix accountability of the Narendra Modi government in parliament.

He said opposition leaders got together to discuss issues in the national interest, create bonhomie in the opposition and exchange views.

Kumar said besides the financial business, the government was keen to get Parliament approval for the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, Payment of Gratuity Bill, the Medical Council of India Bill among others.

The party was attended by Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party's Ramgopal Yadav, BSP's Satish Mishra, DMK's Kanimozhi, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha's Babulal Marandi, AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, Hindustani Awam Morcha's Jitan Ram Manjhi and NC's Omar Abdullah.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel were among the Congress biggies who were present at the dinner.

The tussle started on the issue of the public sector bank frauds when the second half of budget session began on 5 March. Though the Congress termed the dinner as a "non-political" event, it was loaded with political significance as it may set the tone for unity among secular parties to take on the BJP-led NDA in the 2019 general elections.

It is also noteworthy that Sonia Gandhi took the lead for the get together of the leaders even after Rahul Gandhi has taken over as the Congress President in December a year ago with the feeling in the Opposition that senior leaders would show deference to her more than to her son.

Even though Banerjee had been advocating a non-BJP non-Congress front, Pawar has invited the Congress as well, NCP sources said.

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