PM meets Patil, submits resignation of cabinet (Lead)

May 18th, 2009 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday met President Pratibha Patil and submitted the resignations of the members of his council of ministers. Manmohan Singh, who also formally stepped down as prime minister, was asked to continue till the formation of the next government.
Officials at Rashtrapati Bhavan said President Patil, who hosts a dinner for the outgoing cabinet later in the evening, will invite Manmohan Singh to form the next government on Tuesday.

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.

“It is protocol that the prime minister of the outgoing government resigns after election results,” a prime ministerial aide told IANS,

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.

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 party leader said.

A three-member Election Commission team headed by Navin Chawla will also formally submit the list of newly-elected Lok Sabha members to Patil Monday evening.

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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