Rahul Gandhi meets Sharad Pawar following UP bypoll results

Leaders from 19 parties at Sonia Gandhi's dinner, discuss ways to take on Modi regime

Sonia Gandhi Hosts Dinner For The Opposition Party Leaders A Move To Tackle BJP

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had constituted an organising committee, a drafting committee and its four sub-groups, and a constitution amendment committee last month. The nearly-12,000 delegates will air their views on alliances based on the draft political resolution to be presented on Saturday.

This dinner is also significant in the context of moves by regional parties like the Telanagana Rashtra Samiti and the Telugu Desam Party, which have attacked the BJP in the recent past and are said to be jockeying for a third front of parties against the BJP and Congress.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi later said there was "much political talk" during the dinner meeting.

The Muslim leader wanted the BJP's archrival Congress to take proactive steps to bring together local parties to form a larger coalition against the BJP.

"Sonia Gandhi is acceptable to the entire political spectrum".

They said former chief ministers of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and Hemant Soren (JMM) will attend the dinner, along with former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, who recently quit the NDA and joined forces with Lalu Prasad's RJD, which is an ally of the Congress.

In the past, various AICC sessions have seen members demanding a strategy for going alone in elections. Gandhi, who took over the reins of the party last December, will present the Congress vision document and the political road map for the party and the document will act as a "guiding light" to help party workers upstage the BJP from power at the Centre in 2019, besides in some states. "Now no one thinks so". However, when he was asked if there was a consensus on Rahul Gandhi's leadership of the probable Opposition alliance, Tejashwi said, "The time has not yet come to decide on the prime ministerial candidate".

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Rahul is also expected to meet Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee when she visits Delhi on March 28 to underscore the need for a strong alliance to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 polls.

- Rahul is keen on a greater contribution from the youth during the plenary and as per media reports, party leaders have said that numerous AICC members, who will take part in the deliberations, are young in keeping with the country's demographic profile.

Shortly after the results of the three bypolls were announced on Wednesday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in the national capital. It is clear from the results that people are extremely angry towards the BJP. "It was part of a strategy". Our candidates attracted a bit of Brahmin votes so that it did not go to the BJP.

Ghanshyam Tiwari, spokesman for the Samajwadi Party (SP) whose two candidates won this week's Uttar Pradesh by-elections, said the BJP had been winning new states by "selling dreams" to voters through glitzy advertisements.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi met Pawar to discuss the possibility of building a united front against the BJP.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who maintains an equi-distance policy from the Congress and the BJP, said the BJP is "sinking".

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