The Congress appeared to have mended its fences with Maharashtra ally Uddhav Thackeray, who was hugely upset over Rahul Gandhi's comments on right-wing icon VD Savarkar. Senior leader of Uddhav Thackeray's Sena faction, Sanjay Raut, said today that Mr Gandhi has dialled Mr Thackeray and the differences are all in the past.
"We have talked to Rahul Gandhi. Our fight is not with Savarkar but with Modi ji," Mr Raut told reporters.
"The things that have been said in the meeting -- the things that have been said, are good things. Let our unity remain intact. I think it is going well," he added, alluding to last evening's dinner meet at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's house.
Mr Thackeray had pulled out of the meet, saying Mr Gandhi's comments against VD Savarkar could drive a wedge into their alliance in Maharashtra.
Thereafter, the 17 parties attending the meet had decided that no opposition leader would make comments on sensitive and emotive issues including Savarkar, sources had said. The Congress, they added, had indicated that it would take into account the emotions of like-minded parties.
Mr Gandhi, who was present at the meet with his mother and former party chief Sonia Gandhi, had also addressed the assembled leaders, sources said.
Today the senior leader is writing to all political leaders who, in a rare gesture, stood by him and condemned his disqualification from the Lok Sabha after a two-year jail term was handed to him by a court in Gujarat last week, sources added.
Indicating that the parties have patched up, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, "19 parties are together, and that includes Shiv Sena. Last night there were 18 parties, today I said 19. Understand. It will turn into 19 from 18 only if Shiv Sena is part of the group".
The Congress has announced a month-long protest over Mr Gandhi's disqualification as an MP.
Mr Gandhi was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison last week in a defamation case from 2019, over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surname. In the campaign ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Mr Gandhi had said, "How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?"
The Gujarat court, which sentenced him to two years in jail, also granted him bail and suspended the sentence. On Friday, he was formally disqualified by Lok Sabha.