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Congress, Oppn to come together in symbolic Iftar on Wednesday, Pranab to attend

Congress spokesperson says Pranab Mukherjee has accepted Rahul Gandhi’s invite for the Iftar function, amid reports that the former President’s name has been omitted from the event.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2018 23:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pranab Mukherjee,Congress,BJP
Former President Pranab Mukherjee looks on during the 24th Foundation Day celebration of Delhi Metro, at Metro Bhawan, in New Delhi.(HT File Photo)

After a gap of two years, the Congress party has decided to throw an Iftar to break bread with other Opposition leaders.

“Iftar will be held on June 13 at Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi,” Congress’ minority cell chief Nadeem Javed said on Monday. This is the first time that Rahul Gandhi will host an Iftar, which marks the breaking of the fast during Ramzan, after taking charge as the party’s president.

While there was speculation through the day about whether former president Pranab Mukherjee will attend the event, Congress clarified late in the evening that the veteran leader had accepted an invitation.

Apart from Gandhi, several senior Congress leaders will be present at the Iftar. Leaders from Opposition parties, including Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), National Conference, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (Marxist, CPIM), will attend the Iftar.

“The Iftar will see Opposition parties working in the same direction,” said an Opposition leader, requesting anonymity.

Last week, President Ram Nath Kovind’s office announced that the president would not host any religious celebrations, including Iftar. The BJP leaders in government don’t usually host Iftar.

Gandhi’s Iftar comes three months after the dinner party that was hosted by the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The key message at this get-together was the urgent need to consolidate Opposition unity in Parliament and on public platforms, with an eye on the upcoming 2019 elections.

Several Opposition parties have publicly spoken about the need for a widest possible alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party for 2019. Recently, RJD chief Tejaswi Yadav appealed to the Congress to play the role of an anchor to this Opposition alliance and said Gandhi can be the Prime Minister if people want him in that role.

First Published: Jun 11, 2018 21:27 IST