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Patil to invite UPA; Manmohan Singh to meet Patil today
Published on 18 May. 2009 12:50 AM IST
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President Pratibha Patil is set to invite the Congress-led UPA, which has emerged as the largest alliance with 262 Lok Sabha seats, to form the next government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to call on her Monday after a cabinet meeting. Patil Sunday met former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan - the second constitutional expert she has spoken to after a clear verdict emerged in favour of the UPA. The president met Ashok Desai, a constitutional expert and also a former attorney general of India, Saturday evening to seek his advice on constitutional niceties about the formation of the next government. The Congress-led UPA, which is over 100 seats ahead of its nearest rival, the BJP-led NDA, is falling short of 10 seats from the 272 half-way mark in parliament. 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 will formally submit the list of newly-elected Lok Sabha members to President Patil on Monday. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to call on the president Monday after a cabinet meeting and offer his resignation - a mere formality till he is invited by Patil to form the next government within two weeks. Meanwhile, the Congress core group met on Sunday to discuss the political situation and issues related to government formation following the impressive performance of the UPA in the Lok Sabha elections. Voices for Rahul Gandhi’s induction into the government grew louder within the Congress in recognition of his proactive campaigning that helped it break new ground even in states like Uttar Pradesh where the party had been an also ran for decades. A Congress source said the new government could be sworn in after May 21, the death anniversary Rajiv Gandhi. JD(S), which won three Lok Sabha seats this time in Karnataka, said it was ready to extend support to UPA and be part of its government “provided Congress is keen” on it. SP general secretary Amar Singh also indicated that the party would support the UPA but said the nature of support would depend on “what the alliance wants from us”.

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