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Sonia Gandhi not invited, Congress to skip state banquet

The banquet, hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind, will be held at the Banquet Hall on Tuesday evening.

Updated: Feb 25, 2020 07:24 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi

Indian and US national flags are placed on light posts ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit, near Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rajpath. (Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

Indian National Congress, the principal Opposition party, has decided to stay away from Tuesday evening’s state banquet organised in honour of US President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India. The Congress has taken a political stand for an event that holds highest diplomatic priorities for India.

The banquet, hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind, will be held at the Banquet Hall on Tuesday evening.

Days after accepting the invitation, Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, conveyed to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday that he would not attend the banquet, people familiar with the development said . Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also invited but it is unclear if he would attend. His aides maintained that Singh is unlikely to go.

Also read: On Day 2 of India visit, Modi and Trump to get down to business



Rashtrapati Bhavan invited Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Azad — the floor leaders of the Congress in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, respectively — for the banquet. Chowdhury has decided to skip it as a mark of protest since no invitation was extended to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. “Trump is coming here. India to host a grand dinner for him but the Opposition is not invited. Why Sonia Gandhiji is not invited for dinner? What kind of democracy is this?,” he told news agency ANI.



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