After UPA staked claim to form the government, President Pratibh Patil appointed CPP leader Manmohan Singh as next Prime Minister. He will be sworn on May 22.
In view of the comfortable numbers, 322 MPs in the house of 543 members, the president has asked the prime minister to prove his strength in the house.
“I have pleasure to appoint you the prime minister and request you to advise me on the names of the others to be appointed to the council of ministers.
“I propose to administer the oath of office and secrecy to you on Friday, 22nd May 2009 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan at a mutually convenient time,” President Pratibha Patil said in her letter handed over to Singh when he called on her along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Reading out the President’s letter, Singh said “you will come to know in due course of time” when asked whether MPs outside the pre-poll allies would be included in the new ministry.
Earlier, the UPA met at 10 Janpath, the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi to decide Cabinet berths.
In the crucial meeting key leaders of all pre-poll allies were present including National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, DMK chief M Karunanidhi, NCP president Sharad Pawar and leader Praful Patel, senior Congress leaders, including Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram and A K Antony besides Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi was re-elected UPA chairperson during the meeting. Her name was proposed by Karunanidhi and seconded by Mamata, the Trinamool Congress informed mediapersons.
Now eyes are on likely candidates who would receive key portfolios in the cabinet. Many names are already doing the rounds.