Thursday, June 30, 2016
JD (U)’s Sharad Yadav hosts first political iftaar of the season
New Delhi: There was much speculation in the summer months whether senior Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav would get a new term in Rajya Sabha because Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had to be accommodated. But Yadav got another term. And he has celebrated it in a big way by hosting a grand iftaar at his bungalow, 7, Tughlaq Road, in Lutyen’s Delhi on Wednesday evening.
It was a high profile, power-packed – whatever power there is left in the anti-BJP opposition – gathering, where Vice President Hamid Ansari, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Congress president Sonia Gandhi were present. In a cordoned space on the back lawns, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav. Sonia Gandhi, Hamid Ansari sat in a row, even as eats were offered. Sharad Yadav was seen offering Sonia Gandhi a bowl of soup.
At the far end of the same VIP row sat Congress’ S. Jaipal Reddy, Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary Sudhakar Reddy, and CPI member in the Rajya Sabha, D. Raja sat.
It is interesting that the RJD leader, Lalu Prasad, was not present. Ansari, Gandhi and Kumar left soon even as host Sharad Yadav saw them off.
It was almost an open house. Many of the invitees seem to be ordinary members of the JD (U) and they stood even as the security personnel kept a watch, and clicked the VIPs with their phone cameras. The media – especially the TV crews – seemed to have been outnumbered by the other invitees. It could also be inferred that not all the TV news channels sent their representatives, because no one expected that Sonia Gandhi and Nitish Kumar would be there. The presence of Hamid Ansari was a surprise as well, and it could set the rumour mills whirring though it is but a matter of courtesy that Ansari, who is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, attended the iftaar hosted by member of the Upper House, Sharad Yadav.
Yadav converted the front lawns of his bungalow as a prayer place, where the Muslim attendees offered the evening namaz after breaking fast.
There was a brief melee at the gates when the security guards closed the gates and refused to people in saying that they cannot allow anybody in once the VIPs had arrived. Even as arguments were on, some JD (U) workers came from inside and asked the guards to throw open the gates, saying that the rozedaars – those who keep the roza – cannot be kept out.
It is part of social life of the national capital’s politicians’ social life to host iftaar during the month of Ramzaan, which is seen as a gesture of secularism. For many years, BJP’s Shah Nawaz Husain used to host a grand iftaar party, which was attended by the BJP bigwigs, including party patriarch L.K.Advani. This time round, no one has hosted an iftaar party either from the BJP side or the Congress.
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