UPA anniversary celebration: Sonia keeps DMK in good humour

Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi, May 23: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday, May 22 went out of the way to keep a sulking DMK in good humour with T R Baalu, party's lone representative at the second anniversary celebrations of UPA-II, seated next to her.

Baalu was on the dais next to Gandhi and at the dinner table too later.

The DMK, which is the third largest constituent of the UPA after Congress and Trinamool Congress, is cut up over the arrest of party MP Kanimozhi, who is the daughter of party supremo M Karunanidhi, in the 2G scam.

The confrontation between the Congress and the BSP, in Uttar Pradesh, was reflected in the celebrations with Mayawati's party keeping away in an unannounced boycott.

"Jung jaari hai (the battle is on)," a senior Congress leader remarked in an obvious reference to the confrontation.

BSP's rival, Samajwadi Party was represented at the celebrations with party General Secretary Mohan Singh as also Dharmendra Yadav, nephew of party chief Mulayum Singh Yadav, present.

Laloo Prasad, whose RJD is no longer part of the UPA but an outside supporter, was present and was on the dinner table of Sonia Gandhi along with NC leader Farooq Abdullah, Praful Patel of NCP and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Senior Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony were also on the same table.

Rahul Gandhi was on the dinner table of the Prime Minister along with J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Home Minister P Chidambram, Union Ministers Sharad Pawar and E Ahamed as also Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay.

Sudip represented Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee who has taken over as West Bengal Chief Minister after what Sonia Gandhi hailed as a "truly historic" win.

Pranab Mukherjee, Sudip as also Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is in charge of party affairs in West Bengal, were complimented by several leaders over the victory.

Gogoi, whose third consecutive victory in Assam, took the opposition by surprise was the cynosure of all eyes while the new Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy was also greeted by several leaders.

Other Congress Chief Ministers present at the celebrations were Prithviraj Chavan of Maharashtra, Kiran Kumar Reddy of Andhra Pradesh, Shiela Dikshit of Delhi, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Haryana.


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