Shocking by-poll results & Sonia's dinner diplomacy

Ivan Schwartz
March 15, 2018

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee were quick to congratulate the victorious candidates of the opposition camp.

Later, Tejashwi Yadav and Sharad Yadav told news agencies that Sonia Gandhi's dinner meeting was the first step towards a comprehensive alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. "The intention is not political, but to hold discussions in a family-like setting at a time when the nation is confronted with a number of issues, including the farmers' unrest", he said after the dinner.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was defeated on the Gorakhpur, and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh by Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party combine while the Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) defeated the Janata Dal United (JD-U) - an NDA ally - on Araria Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.

Revolutionary Socialist Party MP N K Premachandran said, "The interaction was informal but marked the foundation of future politics".

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge was also present at the dinner.

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 previous year with the feeling in the Opposition that senior leaders would show deference to her more than to her son.

Tuesday's dinner at Sonia Gandhi's residence promises to be no ordinary affair.

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Referring to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) pulling out of the Modi government, Tejashwi said that Opposition parties were getting together while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was "breaking apart". After all, political leaders cutting across party lines are all set to possibly put aside their minor differences for the "larger good" - that of mounting a challenge to BJP and its allies.

Rahul Gandhi tweeted after the dinner that there was "much political talk" but also "tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection".

Left and TMC leaders who were present said it was certainly a "political dinner without political talks".

"If we give up our seats to the BSP or the SP, our leaders ask us why they should work for the Congress".

The BSP has fielded party leader Bhimrao Ambedkar for the March 23 Rajya Sabha elections.

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Uttar Pradesh bypoll results are a wake-up call to the Congress in a State that sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

"So it seems opposition parties already feeling a euphoria and hoping that now 'Acchhe Din" will be theirs soon.

Other reports by GizPress

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