New Delhi: After a two-year gap, the Congress has decided to hold Iftar on June 13 with party President Rahul Gandhi playing host. This will be the first Iftar for Rahul Gandhi, after he took over as Congress chief.

"Iftar will be held on June 13 at Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi," Congress' Minority Cell chief Nadeem Javed said.

The Congress did not hold Iftar, which marks the customary breaking of the daylong fast in the holy month of Ramzan, for two years. The last Iftar was hosted by Sonia Gandhi in 2015. The party conventionally invites leaders of all faiths and top diplomats.

This year's Iftar will be watched carefully for the presence of opposition leaders, at a time when the Congress is positioning itself as the centre of opposition unity, ahead of the 2019 the Lok Sabha elections. The party's decision to host Iftar comes days after President Ram Nath Kovind decided to not host the feast traditionally held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Recently, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's hosting of Iftar triggered controversy around expenditure related to the event.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also hosted an Iftar but Congress leaders stayed away from it. Before 2016, the Congress used to host Iftar. When the party was in power, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh used to organize Iftar. The resumption of Iftar comes at a time when the Congress is seen to be pursuing a policy of "soft Hindutva" as evidenced in Rahul Gandhi's several recent temple visits.

IANS