Congress not to stake claim
The Congress will not stake a claim to form a government at the Centre, party president Sonia Gandhi announced on Sunday evening.
Sonia, who took over as Congress president on Saturday, conveyed her party's decision to President K R Narayanan during a 40-minute meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Facing a battery of newsmen and cameramen at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, she said, "We do not have the numbers to stake a claim to form a government. However, we are watching the situation."
The meeting took place at the President's invitation. The President has held consultations with various political leaders over the last few days.
Sonia had an informal discussion with some Congress Working Committee members at her home before proceeding to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
This is her first meeting with the President after she took over the party presidency from Sitaram Kesri. On Friday, Kesri had met the President and apprised him of the party stand along with other Congress leaders, among them Sharad Pawar, Madhavrao Scindia and Dr Manmohan Singh.
Since it was her first meeting in the role of Congress president, Sonia reportedly discussed the overall political situation in the country with the President.
After the meeting she drove out of Rashtrapati Bhavan, but later returned to address the press corps assembled in the forecourt of the Presidential palace. She could barely
be heard above the melee, and soon drove off after making her brief statement.
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