India’s Congress asked to form new govt
INDIA: India’s Congress party, which surged back to power
following month-long elections, was Wednesday invited to form the next
Congress, which campaigned on a pro-poor platform, was asked to form
the government after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chairwoman
Sonia Gandhi met President Pratibha Patil at the British colonial-era
“The president has invited me to form the new government,” Singh said
after their meeting, adding that his new administration would be sworn
Gandhi’s Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) grabbed 262
seats in 543-seat parliament and with the support of allies, the
coalition’s tally is well past the half-way mark needed to form a
With support extended by three other regional parties, the UPA’s
legislative strength stood at 322, Singh told reporters.
The 76-year-old Singh earlier this week was nominated to hold the
premier’s post for a second five-year term. Earlier in the day, the
Congress party and its allies haggled over cabinet positions with Singh
in a position to dictate terms after his party’s electoral triumph.
Leaders of the coalition’s members made their pitches for cabinet
berths at a meeting at Gandhi’s residence.
Congress, which won 206 of the 543 seats in parliament — its
strongest showing since 1991 — will retain the portfolios for finance,
defence, foreign affairs and internal security, a senior party figure
New Delhi, Thursday, AFP