Thursday, June 14, 2018-Congress chief, Rahul Gandhi’s Iftar party, held on Wednesday, turned into a massive show of opposition strength. But the most-watched personality present there was former President, Pranab Mukherjee, whose decision to attend an RSS function had powered up the Congress. There was a speculation that Mr. Mukherjee would be dropped out from the Congress guest list for attending the RSS function on June 7.
Many Congress leaders, along with Mr. Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee, were apprehensive that his very presence at the function would hand the BJP a potent weapon against the Congress. the Congress later announced Mr. Mukherjee, with his address, reminded the BJP and its ideological mentor about “India’s pluralism, tolerance, secularism and inclusiveness” but a section still questioned on Mr. Mukherjee’s decision.
Reports about Mr. Mukherjee’s exclusion intensified because of comments by the Shiv Sena, the estranged ally of the BJP. The Sena suggested that the BJP was keeping Mr. Mukherjee in reserve as insurance for coming to power after the national election next year. If the BJP fell short of numbers, Mr. Mukherjee’s name might be proposed as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
The Iftar held at Delhi’s Taj Palace Hotel, organized by the Congress after two years break, was attended by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, DMK’s Kanimozhi, RJD’s Manoj Jha and Sharad Yadav. West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee had sent Dinesh Trivedi as her representative, and Mayawati sent SC Mishra. Danish Ali, leader of Karnataka’s Janata Dal-Secular, were also present. So were former President Pratibha Patil and former Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
The big opposition party got together is the first since Janata Dal-Secular chief HD Kumaraswamy’s oath in Bengaluru earlier this month. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had also attended that meeting.