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In absence of Lalu, Tejashwi Yadav to attend Sonia Gandhi’s dinner for Opposition parties

By Deepika

In the absence of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, his son Tejashwi Yadav will attend Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's March 13 dinner for all opposition parties to forge a united front against the BJP.

Tejashwi Yadav

With Lalu lodged in Ranchi's Birsa Munda jail in a fodder scam case, Tejashwi is seen as the face of the RJD. He had served as the Deputy Chief Minister in the Grand Alliance government of RJD, JD(U) and Congress.

Sonia Gandhi has invited leaders of all opposition parties for dinner here on March 13 in a fresh bid to forge a united front against the BJP.

The initiative in the backdrop of opposition parties joining hands to attack the government in Parliament is a step towards strengthening the opposition and laying the foundation for a united front in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a party insider said.

Sonia Gandhi's invitation comes at a time when talk of a non-BJP, non-Congress front is doing the rounds following a proposal by TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for a national consultation process on the matter.

This is being seen as a step towards laying the foundation for a united front in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The dinner is expected to be held ahead of the AICC plenary session scheduled for March 16-18 and could take place on March 13. Invitations are being extended to the 17 parties which attended a meeting called by the Congress to brainstorm over common strategy in Parliament and outside last month. A TDP representative may also attend the dinner.

Several leaders have confirmed their attendance, a Congress insider said, declining to go into specifics.

However, he said Sonia Gandhi is keen to have all top opposition party leaders, including Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is yet to confirm.

Banerjee has spoken to Rao and DMK working president MK Stalin for coordination inside and outside Parliament.

Though the TDP is an ally of the NDA, the southern regional party has joined hands with other opposition parties to protest in Parliament against the Centre over the issue of triple talaq. The party has also aired its differences with the government over a special package for Andhra Pradesh.

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