In the absence of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, his son and former deputy Bihar Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav will attend Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s March 13 dinner for all opposition parties to forge a united front against the BJP.

With Lalu lodged in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail in a fodder scam case, Tejashwi has been the face of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in a bid to fill in the big shoes of his father.

Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi’s initiative – in the backdrop of opposition parties joining hands to attack the government in Parliament – is a step towards strengthening the opposition and laying the foundation for a united front in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Sonia Gandhi’s invitation comes at a time when talk of a non-BJP, non-Congress front is doing the rounds following a proposal by TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for a national consultation process on the matter.

Sources close to the Congress confirmed that Sonia Gandhi’s dinner would signify the coming together of all opposition parties who would take on the BJP inside and outside Parliament.

Sonia is keen to have all top opposition party leaders, including Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is yet to confirm.

As ties between the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have soured over the special status demand for Andhra Pradesh, reports suggest that the TDP could also attend the Congress leader’s dinner.

The southern regional party had earlier joined hands with other opposition parties to protest in Parliament against the Centre over the issue of triple talaq.

The second half of the budget session has been witnessing protests by opposition parties, which have also held demonstrations outside the House and inside.