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Posted at: Jun 20, 2019, 9:01 PM; last updated: Jun 20, 2019, 11:07 PM (IST)

Sonia, Rahul, Akhilesh, Mayawati skip PM’s dinner

All Punjab Congress MPs except Tewari, Bittu attend
Sonia, Rahul, Akhilesh, Mayawati skip PM’s dinner
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Gurdaspur MP and actor Sunny Deol at the dinner hosted by him. Photo courtesy Twitter handle: @NarendraModi

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 20

Top opposition party leaders skipped the dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a local hotel but MPs cutting across party lines attended on Thursday.

Congress top brass Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi skipped the dinner and so did SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP president Mayawati.

The prime minister had extended the invitation for dinner to all 750 MPs of the two Houses and political party presidents to meet up in an informal atmosphere in attempts to foster harmony in Parliament where bitterness and disruption has become a norm.

Congress was represented by its leaders in Rajya Sabha (Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma) and Lok Sabha (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary).

DMK’s Kanimozhi and NCP’s Praful Patel attended.

Most Congress MPs from Punjab were present barring Manish Tewari and Ravneet Bittu.

Amar Singh, Preneet Kaur, Gurjit Aujla, Mohammad Sadiq and Santokh Choudhry attended so did BJP MPs from Punjab, including Sunny Deol.

Sivaganga MP Karti Chidambaram, the son of Congress veteran P Chidambaram who went for the dinner, termed PM’s gesture good.

The event turned out to be an unplanned farewell for Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of the previous Lok Sabha who attracted praises from the PM Modi. The PM also graced her with flowers as the event wound up.

Home Minister Amit Shah didn’t mingle much with guests although Defence Minister Rajnath Singh did.

The PM shook hands with leaders and MPs and was seen posing for selfies with first-time members.

“It was a relaxed, informal evening,” said a Congress MP who attended.

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