Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hosted a dinner for all the members of Parliament at the Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi. The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry had invited over 750 MPs, but prominent leaders such as United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav skipped it, PTI reported.

Leaders of the Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal also abstained from the dinner. Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders did not attend the dinner to protest against the deaths of children in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, party leader Misa Bharti said. “Medicines and live equipment can be procured from the amount that is being spent in organising this dinner,” Bharti told ANI.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, leaders of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi, Aam Aadmi Party’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh were among those who attended the dinner. Three of the four Telugu Desam Party members who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party earlier in the day – YS Chowdary, CM Ramesh and TG Venkatesh – also attended the dinner.

“The MPs interacted with the prime minister in a very informal manner,” BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, adding that the atmosphere was very congenial.

Modi also appreciated the role played by previous Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, news agency PTI reported.

“Wonderful evening with MP colleagues over dinner,” Modi tweeted after the dinner. “Cutting across party lines, we had great conversations through the programme.”

This was also the first time that Modi was meeting all the MPs after the new government came to power last month.