New Delhi, February 24
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad both said they had declined an invitation to the banquet that President Ram Nath Kovind would host for US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania.
Singh had accepted the invitation earlier, but sources close to him said head conveyed his inability to attend the event to the President’s office on Monday.
The reason for his refusal is not yet known, but it appears that the Congress party is peeved at Congress president Sonia Gandhi not being invited to the event. Sources close to Azad said it would inappropriate for the leader to attend the event "since no invitation had been extended to Chairman of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Sonia Gandhi”.
Congress party’s Leader of Opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had previously turned down an invitation for similar reasons.
The floor leaders of both the Houses of Parliament have been invited for the Presidential banquet to be hosted on Tuesday. The schedule of the US President has no mention of meeting with any Opposition leaders. The Congress said on Friday that it had not received any invitation for its leaders to meet Trump on his two-day visit to India. Agencies
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