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PM resigns, President dissolves LS
Published on 19 May. 2009 12:48 AM IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday called on President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and handed over his resignation as well as that of his Council of Ministers. The President, in turn, issued orders to dissolve the 14th Lok Sabha with immediate effect, paving the way for constitution of the new House which is expected later this month. Manmohan Singh was asked to continue till the formation of the next government. The President is expected to invite the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which has emerged as the largest pre-poll alliance with 261 Lok Sabha seats, tomorrow to form the next government at the Centre. “The Prime Minister has submitted the resignation to the President who asked him and his Council of Ministers to continue in office till an alternative arrangement is made,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said. The meeting between the President and the Prime Minister lasted for about 35 minutes. The PM is believed to have held talks with the President on the formation of the next government. The development came after the outgoing Union Cabinet met at the PM’s residence – 7, Race Course Road – for the last time and passed a resolution recommending the President to dissolve the 14th Lok Sabha. The President has already spoken to several constitutional experts, including former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, after a clear verdict emerged in favour of the UPA post Lok Sabha polls. “It is protocol that the prime minister of the outgoing government resigns after election results,” a prime ministerial aide told IANS. The tally of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rose to 263 Monday with the independent MP from Ladakh joining the National Conference, which is part of the UPA. Now the UPA is nine short of the magic halfway mark of 272 seats needed for majority in the 545-member house, of which 543 are elected. However, the alliance is believed to have mustered the required support to form the government at the Centre. The Congress is planning to approach the President with letters of support from at least 20-30 more MPs that will obviate the need for a Confidence Vote in Parliament. A three-member Election Commission (EC) team headed by Navin Chawla was expected to formally submit the list of newly-elected Lok Sabha members to President Patil today. Earlier, at the final cabinet meet at the Prime Minister’s 7, Race Course Road residence, where the ministers tendered their resignations, a resolution of appreciation for Manmohan Singh was passed. The meeting was attended by, among others, Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and steel minister, Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) Ram Vilas Paswan, who lost his Lok Sabha seat. There is considerable speculation over Lalu Prasad’s inclusion in the new cabinet. “We are giving unconditional support to the government and we have said this in the cabinet meeting as well,” said Lalu Prasad, whose relations with the Congress took a beating after seat sharing in Bihar broke down. On Tuesday, the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) will meet to formally choose Manmohan Singh as its parliamentary party leader and Sonia Gandhi as it CPP chairperson. According to an official in the Prime Minister’s Office, the swearing in of the new cabinet is likely on May 20 or May 22 - the day Manmohan Singh took oath five years ago. May 21 is out because it is the death anniversary of the late Rajiv Gandhi.

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