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Sonia hosts dinner for UPA, allies

delhi Updated: Aug 08, 2007 22:57 IST

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Ahead of what is expected to be a stormy parliament session beginning on Friday, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday hosted a dinner for the coalition partners and the supporting Left parties and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The dinner, also attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saw the leaders exchanging pleasantries.

Asked whether Gandhi, who is also the Congress president, addressed the gathering, party general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi told IANS: "It was just a dinner hosted by her and there were no formal speeches."

A Congress party source said: "It was an occasion for informally exchanging views on the current political situation."

However, the dinner assumes significance in the wake of the Left parties' criticism of the India-US civil nuclear deal, even as the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to seek a vote after a discussion on the deal in the Lok Sabha.

The dinner, thus, provided an opportunity for the ruling coalition to gauge the Left parties' mood on the issue.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat, party colleague Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India national secretary D Raja were also present at the dinner.

Satish Mishra, a close confidante of BSP chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati represented the BSP.

About 25 bills are slated to be taken up during the parliament session, which will run for 36 days.