Ex-PM Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad decline invite to state banquet for Trump
Azad had accepted the invitation earlier but he told the President secretariat that he will not come for the banquet, sources said.
Days after accepting the invitation, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has conveyed to Rashtrapati Bhavan that he will not attend the state banquet in honour of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, people familiar with the development said on Monday.
Rashtrapati Bhavan had invited Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Azad—the floor leaders of the principal opposition party in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha — for the dinner.
Azad had accepted the invitation earlier but he told the President secretariat that he will not come for the banquet.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has also declined the invite to attend the banquet.
ALSO WATCH | ‘No substance in Donald Trump’s India visit’: Congress leader Manish Tewari
Chowdhury has said he will skip the event saying no invitation was extended to his party’s president Sonia Gandhi.
“Trump is coming here. India to host a grand dinner for him but the Opposition is not invited. Why Sonia Gandhi ji is not invited for dinner with Trump? In the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event, both Republican and Democrats shared the stage. But here, only Modi will be with Trump. What kind of democracy is this?” Chowdhury had said, according to news agency ANI.
“Trump coming to India is a very big thing. The US is a powerful nation and we welcome their president in our country. The country which he represents is considered as the oldest democracy and India as the biggest democracy. Democracy has some features which everyone shall respect,” he said.
The US president and First Lady Melania Trump landed in Ahmedabad earlier in the day for a two-day visit to India to a grand welcome.
He addressed the packed “Namaste Trump” event at the Motera Stadium in the largest city of Gujarat along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before a short visit to the Sabarmati Ashram.
Trump will visit the Taj Mahal in Agra and attend a cultural programme in the city. Trump will then travel to Delhi where he will hold delegation-level talks with the Prime Minister and meet other leaders on Tuesday.
President Ramnath Kovind will host a banquet for Donald Trump before he departs on Tuesday after a 36-hour visit.