New Delhi: With Ramzan, the Islamic month of fasting, in its last phase, political leaders are scurrying up to organise iftars -- the evening meal with which Muslims break their fast at sunset during the holy month.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is hosting an iftar party on Wednesday, which is expected to be a show of strength of non-NDA parties.
The list of invitees include former president Pranab Mukherjee, ex vice-president Hamid Ansari, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tej Pratap Yadav among others.
Gandhi's huddle coincides with Minorities Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's special iftar.
While the Congress party president has chosen New Delhi's Taj Palace hotel as the venue of his party, Naqvi's iftar get-together would mainly be for the triple talaq victims and their families.
"Rahul Gandhi is organising iftar party for political gain. However, I am doing so for the needy. We are not competing with them in any way," Naqvi told ANI.
Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind decided not to host an iftar party like his predecessors, in accordance with his decision to not observe any religious functions inside Rashtrapati Bhawan at taxpayers' expense.
Interestingly, RJD's Tejashwi Prasad Yadav is also hosting an iftar in Patna, which his party's rival, Janata Dal (United) leader and Chief Minister of the Bihar Nitish Kumar may also attend.
This comes after Upendra Kushwaha of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party organised a similar party over the weekend. Neither Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, nor anyone from the Lok Janshakti Party attended the function.
But not everything has been smooth for such get-togethers.
On Monday two activists -- Advocate Adil Khatri and Shakeel Ahmed Shaikh -- sought cancellation of an iftar party by the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, the Muslim wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Mumbai.
On similar lines, a case was registered against Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Hyderabad, Raja Singh, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
In a video that surfaced on social media, he said that iftar parties are hosted by leaders who beg for Muslim votes, and added that he would not attend any such gathering.
Not to miss out, United States President Donald Trump last week hosted an iftar dinner at the White House to celebrate the holy month of Ramzan.