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Sonia hosts Iftar in 3 yrs

Sonia hosts Iftar in 3 yrs
Highlights

Sonia hosts Iftar in 3 yrs, Sonia Gandhi hosted her first Iftar in three years, which saw the Congress president sharing a table with leaders of RJD and its new-found ally JD(U).

  • Sharad and Lalu share table with Congress president
  • Manmohan was at another table with ex-EC Qureshi

New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi hosted her first Iftar in three years, which saw the Congress president sharing a table with leaders of RJD and its new-found ally JD(U).
Congress President Sonia Gandhi with RJD chief Lalu Yadav, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and NCP leader Tariq Anwar during her Iftar party in New Delhi on Sunday
RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav were seated with Sonia Gandhi at the Iftar which was also attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

While Rahul was seated with diplomats, Singh was on a separate table with former Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi and cine star Sharmila Tagore among others.

Sonia sought Singh to her table where NCP leader Tariq Anwar was also seated, but the former Prime Minister went to his designated place.

The fast-breaking feast during Ramzan is only the second big Iftar hosted this season after the one by President Pranab Mukherjee last week.

The Iftar by Gandhi, who did not hold the feast during last three years because of natural disaster or tragedy in the country, was organised at Ashoka Hotel and attended by political leaders, academicians, diplomats, religious leaders and journalists.

Those in attendance included former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Ambika Soni, JD-U's Prem Chand Gupta, Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel, Ajay Maken, Motilal Vora, Digvijay Singh, Jairam Ramesh, Anand Sharma, Shakeel Ahmed, Rajeev Shukla, Kumari Selja, Mohsina Kidwai, Karan Singh, CLP chief in Delhi Assembly Haroon Yusuf, DPCC president Arvinder Singh Lovely, Raj Babbar, Mohammed Azaharuddin and Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad was also present.

Earlier, a "grand alliance" among the JD(U), RJD and Congress has been formed to take on BJP in the bypolls for ten assembly seats in Bihar next month, a senior ruling party leader said.

"A grand alliance among the JD(U), RJD and Congress has been clinched with the JD(U) and RJD getting four seats each, while the Congress will contest in the remaining two seats", state unit JD(U) president Bashisth Narayan Singh told reporters.

He, however, refused to divulge the specific seats from which the respective parties would contest saying that the details would be announced later. NCP president Sharad Pawar told party leaders of Maharashtra unit here that the decision on seat sharing for the Assembly polls would be taken by him and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

He told them that going alone in the Assembly elections was not in the interest of both the parties. Pawar asked the leaders to refrain from making comments which would harm the alliance, sources said.

Katju row a ‘futile’ issue: Manmohan

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday refused to be drawn into the Katju controversy, terming it as a "futile" issue. "It is a futile issue. Soli Sorabjee (former Attorney General) also spoke on it. I don't need to comment on it," he told reporters at an Iftar party hosted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He was responding to a question on the controversy triggered by former Supreme Court judge and Chairman of Press Council of India Markandey Katju. Katju had alleged that three ex-Chief Justices of India made "improper compromises" during UPA rule in retaining a judge in Tamil Nadu under corruption cloud.

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