Not inviting Kharge to G20 dinner shows govt's thinking: Congress
Though Kharge and other Opposition leaders are not invited to the dinner, union ministers and chief ministers, including those of states ruled by Opposition parties, have received invites
The exclusion of Congress president and Rajya Sabha leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge from the G20 summit's official dinner hosted by President Droupadi Murmu is an "attack on democracy" and reflects the ruling dispensation's thinking, party leaders said on Friday.
Though Kharge and other Opposition leaders were not invited to the dinner on Saturday, 9 September, union ministers and chief ministers, including those of states ruled by opposition parties, have received invites.
President Murmu will host the dinner for visiting G20 dignitaries at the Bharat Mandapam, the venue for the G20 summit.
While the Congress did not officially respond to Kharge's exclusion from the dinner, party leader and MP Rahul Gandhi, who is in Brussels, said the action speaks about the thinking behind the move.
Senior Congress leader and Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said that since the Opposition plays a key role in democracy, not inviting the leader of the Opposition is an attack on democracy.
Asked about Kharge not being invited to the G20 dinner, Gandhi told media in Brussels, "They have decided not to invite the leader of the Opposition, it tells you something. It tells you that they don't value the leader of 60 per cent of India's population. And it's something that people should think about. Why they feel the need to do that and the type of thinking that goes behind that."
The leader of the Opposition is equivalent to a union minister in terms of rank, and holds a Constitutional position.
Sources said former prime ministers and all chief ministers have been invited to the dinner.
"It is unfortunate that the leader of the Opposition has not been invited. One should respect different views. In a democracy, the opposition has a key role and in such a situation if he has not been invited, it is an attack on democracy," Baghel told reporters in Raipur. Asked if he was going to attend the dinner, he said, "How can one go? It is a no-fly zone."
On Kharge's exclusion, Tamil Nadu Congress leader Mohan Kumaramangalam wrote, "Modi hai to Manu hai", in what appeared to be a swipe at the caste system.
"Indian President Kovind not invited to the Bhoomi Puja of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Bharatiya President Murmu not invited to the opening ceremony of the new Parliament. Congress President Kharge not invited to the G20 Delegates Dinner. Modi hai to Manu hai," he said in a post on X.