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Gandhi to meet Prez on Wednesday to stake claim

May 18, 2004 09:15 IST
Last Updated: May 18, 2004 13:16 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday met President A P J Kalam at the latter's invitation to discuss government formation.

The Congress party is the single largest in the 14th Lok Sabha.

Contrary to expectations, she did not hand over the letters of support from her allies or stake a claim to form the government at the Centre at the head of the United Progressive Alliance.

After the 20-minute meeting, she told mediapersons that it was a preliminary one and that she would call on him again on Wednesday with letters of support from all her pre-poll allies.

At the meeting, the President asked Gandhi about the 'parties which are supporting us (Congress) from outside and those who are supporting us from inside which means pre-poll allies'.

"We explained to him these issues. He also told us he has received letters of support from the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. We shall meet the President tomorrow (on Wednesday) with letters of support from all coalition partners and then we shall proceed from there on," Gandhi told reporters at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan after a 20-minute meeting with Kalam.

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She told mediapersons that the Left parties and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhaghan have, as of now, offered to extend support from outside, that is, will not participate in a UPA government.

Before meeting the President, she held an hour-long discussion with top party leaders, including Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Natwar Singh, Ahmed Patel and Ambika Soni, at her residence.

Singh accompanied her to the meeting with the President.

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