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Quiet dinner, promises mark UPA-II's second anniversary

Sunday May 22, 2011 09:32:43 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Amid allegations of a host of scams and charges of graft against some key members of its constituents, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Sunday marked the second anniversary of its government's second innings with a dinner here for all allies.

Hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the lawns of his official 7 Race Course Road residence, the dinner was graced by the members of all UPA allies, though the DMK was ill-represented with just one member.

The star attraction was UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who was seen mingling freely with the guests.

Ahead of the dinner, the prime minister and Gandhi also released a report card on the two years of his second government, highlighting the achievements.

"The UPA has offered seven years of political stability, social progress, communal harmony, economic growth and increased engagement with nations around the globe," the prime minister said.

Yet, he added, people were concerned over developments related with second generation telecom spectrum allocation and corruption in public life.

"These are legitimate concerns and the UPA government is determined to take corrective action."

Gandhi also referred to the issue of graft and said the UPA will be driven by transparency, accountability and probity in governance.

Earlier, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, whose daughter and Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi was sent to judicial custody earlier this week, had dispatched his parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu for the event, after much debate.

Another DMK leader and former communications minister A. Raja was already in judicial custody last month for the same case, which has caused much embarrassment to the UPA government in general and the DMK in particular.

The DMK has 18 members in the Lok Sabha -- one member less than the second largest constituent of the UPA, the Trinamool Congress - and seven members in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress party has 207 members in the Lok Sabha.

Karunanidhi himself is scheduled to arrive in the capital Monday.

Other leaders at the dinner included Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Mukul Roy of the Trinamool Congress and E. Ahamed of the Indian Union Muslim League.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad, though not a constituent of the UPA, was also present, so were all the Congress party state chief ministers, including newly elected Tarun Gogoi of Assam and Oommen Chandy of Kerala.

Mamata Banerjee, who assumed office as West Bengal chief minister in Kolkata Friday after resigning as the railway minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet, also did not attend the event.




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(Photo: BM Meena)



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