After snub to Modi, Congress invites Mamata, Nitish to Nehru event
New Delhi: After refusing to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress has now called leaders including Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar for an event on Jawaharlal Nehru next week, a move seen as an attempt to consolidate secular parties.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had last week formally invited NCP chief Sharad Pawar for the event but the party now seems to be in two minds after NCP today supported the BJP government in the trust vote in Maharashtra.
On his part, Pawar has already expressed his inability to attend the event owing to NCP's Maharashtra unit's two-day convention at Alibag which coincides with the Congress event.
“Sonia Gandhi had written a letter inviting Pawar on November 6 and, on the same day, he wrote back expressing his inability to attend the event,” said NCP general secretary D P Tripathi.
Congress had yesterday made it clear it has not invited the prime minister for the event, joining the battle with Modi, who it accuses of trying to appropriate freedom movement leaders.
Party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed today said that Congress has invited leaders of all Left parties, JD(U), RJD, Trinamool Congress and other parties “who believe in the idea of India” as espoused by Nehru.
Asked whether it will also invite Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, he said, “They are now with NDA. We have not invited those who do not believe in Nehru's ideas.”
Party sources said that the Congress chief had personally written to Mamata and Kumar inviting them for the event. The two-day event to highlight the legacy and worldview of the first Prime Minister is being organised on November 17 and 18 and will be attended by a host of international leaders and representatives of various political parties from India and abroad.
The event is being held separately by Congress even as the government has already indicated that it will organise Nehru's 125th birth anniversary this year in a mega way to increase awareness about ‘Chacha Nehru' through a number of initiatives like organising ‘Year of Bal Swachhta'.