Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has not been invited to the G20 summit dinner hosted by the president, reported NDTV.
The Congress has taken exception to Kharge’s exclusion as the dinner will be hosted by President Droupadi Murmu and not the Bharatiya Janata Party government, according to The Times of India. The heads of other Opposition parties as well as floor leaders in Parliament have also not received invitations.
The chief ministers of all states, along with all Cabinet and state ministers, have been invited to the dinner scheduled for Saturday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu’s MK Stalin, Nitish Kumar from Bihar and Bhagwant Mann from Punjab are among those who have confirmed their attendance. Former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda have turned down the invitation on account of ill health.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that by not inviting Kharge, the Narendra Modi-led Central government showed that it does not value the leader of 60% population, according to The Hindu.
“They have decided not to invite the leader of Opposition,” Gandhi said during a press conference in Brussels. “It tells you that they don’t value the leader of 60% of India’s population. Why are they feeling the need to do that and what is the type of thinking goes behind that?”
The Congress leader had earlier claimed that the members of the INDIA alliance represent at least 60% of the country.
The heads of state of more than 30 countries will attend the dinner scheduled to be held at Bharat Mandapam, the convention centre set up for the G20 summit in Pragati Maidan of New Delhi.
The invitation of the dinner had sparked a controversy as it described Murmu as the “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India”.
Meetings during G20
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold more than 15 bilateral meetings during the G20 Summit, reported PTI.
Modi will meet with US President Biden on Friday and is expected to discuss a deal to jointly manufacture jet engines in India, the purchase of MQ-9B armed drones and an agreement on civil nuclear liability. He will also hold talks with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth on Friday.
On Saturday, he will hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Italy.
On the final day of the summit, Modi will hold a working lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron. He will also hold a meeting on the sidelines with Canada’s Justin Trudeau.