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Congress not attending state banquet, because no invite to Sonia Gandhi


New Delhi, Feb 25: Congress leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, will not attend the official banquet being hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind in honour of US President Donald Trump on February 25, sources said.

Singh had earlier accepted the invite but expressed his inability to attend the same on Monday.

File photo of Sonia Gandhi

He has conveyed his regret to the President's office for not being able to attend the banquet, sources close to Singh said.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, will also not attend the official banquet as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has not been invited.

She is also the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.

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The opposition Congress is peeved at the Modi government's move to not allow its top leaders a meeting with the visiting US president, as has been the tradition.

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    Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has said he will not attend the President's banquet as a mark of protest over the party's top leaders not being extended an invitation. He asked why was Sonia Gandhi not invited. Trump is coming here. India to host grand dinner for him, but the Opposition is not invited. Why Sonia Gandhi is not invited for the dinner. What kind of democracy is this, he also asked.

    This will probably be the first time that leaders of the principal opposition will miss the official banquet in honour of a visiting head of state and will not hold separate discussions, Congress leaders said.

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