Prime Minister to host UPA dinner tonight

New Delhi, Nov 16: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to host a dinner Friday for the United Progressive Alliance partners to discuss the government’s strategy, ahead of the winter session of parliament, set to begin Nov 22, sources said.

The prime minister has already met Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati separately last week in order to keep them in good humour.

Both the parties support the UPA from outside and provide an important cushion to the government, from which Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress quit the alliance in September and All India Majlis−e−Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)’s lone MP Asaduddin Owaisi withdrew last week.

“We expect the UPA to have a collective strategy ahead of the winter session at the UPA dinner. It is a good step. Such informal consultations are always welcome,” Nationalist Congress Party general secretary D.P. Tripathi told IANS.

UPA sources said they expect the winter session to function normally, but did not rule out the possibility of Bharatiya Janata Party again disrupting parliament, as it did in the monsoon session, with Gujarat assembly elections due in December.

Besides the NCP, leaders of other allies like the DMK, Rashtriya Lok Dal and the National Conference are expected to attend the dinner.

IANS