Mallikarjun Kharge, chief of India’s largest opposition party, not invited to G20 dinner
Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Narendra Modi government for not inviting the opposition leaders to the mega event.
(L-R) An inside view of the International Media Centre as it stands ready for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi on Friday, September 8, 2023 (ANI Photo/Ayush Sharma) and Indian National Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)
WHILE India was set to become the first nation from south Asia to host the prestigious G20 summit on September 9 and 10, not everything looked in order in the country’s highly divided domestic politics.
Mallikarjun Kharge, chief of the opposition Indian National Congress and the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha or Upper House of the Indian parliament, was not sent an invite for the gala dinner which the president of India, Droupadi Murmu, hosted on Saturday (9), his office said.
Kharge, 81, holds a cabinet minister’s rank and the party he leads is the largest opposition party in the country.
NDTV reported citing sources that no leader of any other political party was invited to the dinner either.
Among the invitees were all cabinet and state ministers; chief ministers of all states of India; secretaries to the Indian government and other dignitaries.
Former Indian prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda were also invited.
The dinner was set to take place at the multi-function hall of the Bharat Mandapam, the revamped venue for the big event.
The dinner will also be attended by a number of world leaders who will be welcome individually by prime minister Narendra Modi at the venue.
‘It tells you something’
Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government for not inviting opposition leaders to the G20 and said it showed the current Indian leadership doesn’t value the leaders of 60 per cent of India’s population and that the people should think about it.
The Bharatiya Janata Party of Modi received 37.7 per cent of the votes cast in the general elections of 2019 and formed a majority government.
Interacting with the media at Brussels Press Club in Brussels, Belgium, Gandhi said the government’s action tells about its thinking. “It tells you something,” Gandhi said in response to a question.
“They have decided not to invite the Leader of the Opposition (Mallikarjun Kharge). It tells you it tells you something. It tells you that they don’t value the leader of 60 per cent of India’s population,” he said.
“It is something that people should think about why they are feeling the need to do that and what is the type of thinking that goes behind that,” he said.
The 53-year-old leader, who was recently reinstated as a parliamentarian, is currently on a three-nation European tour to Belgium, France and Norway.
He also held closed-door meetings with some members of the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday (7).
(With PTI inputs)