Press Trust of india

Rahul Gandhi to host Iftar on June 13

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New Delhi, Jun 9:  After a gap of two years, the Congress has decided to hold Iftar on June 13 with party President Rahul Gandhi playing host to a galaxy of leaders who are likely to attend the event.

For Rahul Gandhi this will be the first occasion to host an Iftar since he took charge as the Congress chief

“Iftar will be held on June 13 at Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi,” Congress’ Minority Cell chief Nadeem Javed said.

The party did not hold Iftar, which marks the customary breaking of the daylong fast in the holy month of Ramzan, during the past two years and its last Iftar was in 2015. The then Congress president Sonia Gandhi had hosted the feast at that time.

The party conventionally invites leaders of all faiths to the event as also top diplomats.

This year’s Iftar will be keenly watched for the presence of opposition leaders at a time when the Congress is positioning itself as the centre of opposition unity ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The party’s decision to resume Iftar comes days after President Ram Nath Kovind decided to discontinue the feast traditionally held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Recently Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao hosted Iftar triggering a controversy around expenditure related to the event.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also hosted an Iftar  but Congress leaders stayed away from it.

Prior to 2016, the Congress used to host Iftar in one way or the other. When the party was in power, the then prime minister Manmohan Singh used to organise the event.

In opposition former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi played host until the party decided to skip the event in 2016 and 2017.

The resumption of Iftar comes at a time when the Congress is seen to be pursuing a policy of soft Hindutva as evidenced in Rahul Gandhi’s several recent temple visits.

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