With three of its allies having jumped ship, the Congress hopes that at least the SP and RJD chiefs will show up.

The Congress has once again invited the Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad, along with the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati and the Lok Jan Shakti’s Ramvilas Paswan for the UPA’s ninth anniversary celebrations at 7, Race Course Road on Wednesday.

With allies, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham, the Trinamool Congress and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen having jumped ship since the last anniversary, the Congress hopes that at least the SP and the RJD chiefs will show up.

Indeed, in 2012, a highlight of the celebrations was that sitting on stage with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and representatives of the UPA allies were Mr. Yadav — who won a spectacular victory in Uttar Pradesh earlier that year — and Mr. Prasad. Later, at dinner, the two leaders were given pride of place as they sat, flanking Ms. Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi. The DMK was represented by T.R. Baalu and the Trinamool Congress by Saugata Roy: both sat on stage and were later seen sitting down to dinner with top leaders of the Congress.

This time, can the Congress pull off a surprise — in the shape of a brand new ally?

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