New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi will today host iftar dinner where opposition parties leaders are likely to deliberate on the strategy for Parliament session beginning July 21.
Among the leaders invited are Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Mayawati (BSP), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), HD Deve Gowda (JD-S), E Ahamed (IUML), Kanimozhi (DMK), D Raja (CPI), Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference and Sudip Bandhopadhyay (TMC).
Though RJD chief Lalu Prasad has been invited, he has expressed inability to attend due to prior commitments. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav are among the invitees.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), which was part of the Congress-led UPA until two years back, and AIUDF, which has a tie-up with the Congress in Assam, are also invited.
The regional parties which are not part of the BJP-led NDA, but have still been kept away, include the AIADMK, BJD and TRS, which rule Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Telangana respectively.
Congress' ties with these parties within and outside Parliament are at best lukewarm.
In Bihar, the JD(U), RJD, Congress and NCP have resolved to fight unitedly under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, while the Left will go to the hustings as a separate bloc.
Congress is utilising the opportunity to send a message of larger opposition unity at a time when BJP and the Modi government are on the backfoot following a series of controversies after revelations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje extending help to "fugitive" former IPL boss Lalit Modi.
The BJP is also facing heat for the Vyapam scam in which the Supreme Court has ordered a CBI probe.