The G20 summit is in full swing, and to make it more extravagant, the President of India has invited notable personalities for a formal dinner on Saturday evening, which marks the first day of the summit. It has already been confirmed that prominent world leaders such as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden, among others, will be attending the summit and participating in the dinner ceremony.
Alongside them, special invitees include India’s wealthiest business leaders, including Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, as well as all chief ministers and Union ministers, who have received invitations to the special dinner hosted by President Droupadi Murmu at Bharat Mandapam on Saturday. While there have been reports of the former Prime Minister’s invitations, a source from his office revealed that he won’t be able to attend due to his ill health.
What has raised eyebrows is the absence of an invitation to Congress President and senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge for this presidential dinner. According to sources, cabinet and state ministers, all Chief Ministers, and all Secretaries to the Government of India are expected to attend this meeting. Invitations have been extended to former PMs Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, as well as all chief ministers, including those from states governed by the Opposition.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, along with other chief ministers of the INDIA bloc, including Tamil Nadu’s MK Stalin, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren, Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann, and Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal, will also participate in the G20 banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu.
The gala dinner will be held at the multi-function hall of Bharat Mandapam, the renovated India Trade Promotion Organisation complex at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, which has a significant capacity. A short cultural program will accompany the gala dinner, as Muktesh Pardeshi, the special secretary (operations) of the G20 who is overseeing the summit’s operations and logistics, mentioned in an exclusive interview with NDTV.
Opposition sources have taken issue with Kharge’s exclusion from the guest list, asserting that it is problematic not only because he is a party president but also because the G20 dinner is being hosted by the President, not the government. The G20 represents leaders and governmental bodies coming together to address and resolve common issues and work towards the betterment of their nations and the world.
Ironically, MK Stalin has been invited to the meeting while Kharge has not. Despite the controversial comments made by Udhyanidhi Stalin, son of MK Stalin, referring to ‘Sanatan Dharma’ as dengue, which caused a stir among people and political leaders, DMK leader MK Stalin received an invitation. The President’s decision to exclude such a prominent leader appears unfair and politically motivated.
The G20 event is a national event, not affiliated with any specific political party. It affects the entire country, and in such cases, the government and the opposition should collaborate rather than exclude one another. Selectively inviting certain members while excluding others, especially the president of the largest opposition party in India, is an unconstitutional move.
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