At Sonia Gandhi's Iftar dinner, Mulayam conspicuous by absence
New Delhi, July 13: Samajwadi Party on Monday stayed away from the Iftar dinner hosted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi but other Janata Parivar outfits like RJD and JD-U including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were prominent among those present.
Neither SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav attended the event nor did he depute any of his party leaders for the get together.
A Congress leader said that Yadav wrote a letter to Gandhi earlier in the day informing her that he had to rush to Lucknow for some "urgent work". Senior BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra was present while CPI-M leader Mohd Salim made a brief appearance.
No other Left leader was seen. The Iftar dinner saw the Bihar Chief Minister breaking bread with Gandhi. NCP chief Sharad Pawar was sitting on the same table as also Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, DMK leader Kanimozi, JD-U chief Sharad Yadav and his associate K C Tyagi were also present at the Iftar and were seated alongside Rahul Gandhi.
While RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was not present, he had deputed his party colleagues Prem Chand Gupta and Jaya Prakash Yadav.
Yadav said he had to rush to Lucknow for some "urgent work"
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present so also senior leaders A K Antony and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. Party chief ministers present were Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Harish Rawat (Uttarakhand) and Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh).
"We have a long list of issues" to be taken up in the Monsoon session, Rahul Gandhi said in reply to questions but did not specify. Asked whether there would be floor coordination with other like-minded parties, he said that it was always the case.
"And what is this?", he remarked pointing to other Opposition leaders sitting on his table.
Rahul was seen in an animated chat with Kanimozhi and was heard enquiring about the ties between BJP and AIADMK. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was among the several foreign diplomats present.