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Allies, Left ask Sonia to form government

May 16, 2004 20:59 IST
Last Updated: May 16, 2004 21:13 IST

Left parties and the Congress' pre-poll allies on Sunday night asked Sonia Gandhi to form government.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi proposed her name. Rashtriya Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad Yadav, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and all other leaders seconded the proposal, Congress leader Manmohan Singh said after a two-and-a-half hour meeting at Gandhi's 10, Janpath residence in New Delhi.

Asked when the new government would be sworn in, Singh said once the new Lok Sabha was constituted in a day or two, it was for the President to extend a formal invitation.

Leaders of the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, which were not the Congress' pre-poll allies, were present at the meeting, which was followed by a dinner to which former prime minister V P Singh was also invited.

Asked whether the SP and RLD would be part of the government, Singh said, "We would like all the constituents to join the government. But a decision would have to be taken by them."

About the common minimum programme, Singh said a committee for drafting it had been set up in which he and Pranab Mukherjee were members. The draft was yet to be completed.

The name of the coalition was yet to be decided, Singh said, adding, "decisions on all these matters will be taken subsequently."

Asked if the Communist Party of India-Marxist was also going to join the government, he said discussions were still on within the party.

Those who attended the meeting included Jyoti Basu and Harkishen Singh Surjeet (both CPI-M), A B Bardhan and D Raja (CPI), Vaiko (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), S Ramadoss (Pattali Makkal Katchi), Mehbooba Mufti (People's Democratic Party), E Ahamed (Indian Union Muslim League), A Owaisi (Muslim Majlis), K Chandrasekhar Rao (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) and Ramdas Athawale (Republican Party of India).

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