Dinner boost to Opposition unity

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He also said the leaders reflected tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president called the dinner "an opportunity" for leaders to "meet and bond". "Much political talk but much more important - tremendous positive energy, warmth and genuine affection", Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, said, "They are making excuses so as to avoid the discussion on crucial issues in House.This is a blot on democracy, you run away from discussions and then you say opposition parties are not ready for discussions. This is a part of that effort", said expelled Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav said when asked if there will be a front of opposition parties in 2019.

TRS chief and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao also spoke enthusiastically about a federal front.

Talking to media persons after the dinner, AICC media incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala said the dinner aimed at a better dialogue between parties and for friendship.

He claimed at a time when the government was not allowing Parliament to function, it was obvious that leaders of various parties, who wanted to raise issues in national interest, would get together to discuss the current political situation.

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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.

Among those who attended were the Nationalist Congress Party's Sharad Power, Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, the Janata Dal United's Sharad Yadav, forMER Bihari chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi (who recently exited the NDA camp to join Bihar's mahagathbandhan), Satish Mishra of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and Badruddin Ajmal of the All India United Democratic Front.

After days of speculation that some of the Congress party's significant allies like West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and her party colleagues, National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, SP and BSP leaders would not show up for the dinner, these parties did send in their representatives while Pawar made a last minute change of plan.

Later in the day, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi hosted a dinner meeting for opposition parties at her official residence to strengthen its strategy against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led ruling alliance.

Seventeen opposition parties came together against the BJP-led NDA during the presidential and vice-presidential elections past year, and Sonia Gandhi has been holding occasional meetings to nurture the bond.

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