Debating India

ELECTIONS 2004

It’s official now, Manmohan is our next PM

Wednesday 19 May 2004

NEW DELHI : Dr Manmohan Singh is all set to be India ’s next Prime Minister with Congress president Sonia Gandhi rejecting fresh appeals by the Congress leaders to change her mind not to take up the top post.

The 71-year-old soft-spoken Finance Minister in the Narasimha Rao government emerged as the candidate for election as leader of the 145-member Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) at a meeting of the General Body of the CPP to be held in the Central Hall of the Parliament House at 5 pm .

After his election, Singh, accompanied by Sonia Gandhi, is expected to call on the President APJ Abdul Kalam and stake claim to form the next government.

Gandhi also personally talked to allies, including DMK Chief M Karunanidhi, CPI(M) leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, to explain her decision to keep away from power and to accept Singh as the Prime Minister. The allies have told her that leadership of Congress was an internal party matter and they would support any leader chosen by the CPP.

Meanwhile, the allies and other supporting parties of the Congress, which account for over 180 MPs, were giving fresh letters of support to the formation of a secular government headed by the Congress. The letters do not specify their support to any individual unlike the first letters which in some cases referred to Sonia Gandhi.

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Wednesday, May 19, 2004.

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