Ahead of the formation of Congress-led coalition government, Sonia Gandhi will meet allies and supporting parties including the Left on Sunday to finalise Common Minimum Programme even as RJD, Lok Janshakti, PDP, JMM and TRS gave her their letters of support.
The meeting, to be held on Sunday evening at Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence, will also decide on setting up Steering and Coordination Committees, AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni told reporters.
“The meeting will work out the modalities of the CMP,” she said adding Gandhi would be later hosting a dinner for her alliance partners.
Replying to questions, she said Gandhi has received letters of support from RJD leader Laloo Prasad Yadav, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, JMM leader Shibu Soren and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti.
Soni said the name of the new alliance would also be decided on Sunday. She side-stepped a question whether Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have been invited for the meeting.
Gandhi today moved a decisive step closer to Prime Ministership with her election as the Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and almost all the allies and the Left parties openly acknowledging her as the natural choice to lead a secular coalition government.
Though there were indications that a new government will be in place before May 18, no formal word has so far come from Gandhi as to when she would take over the responsibility bequeathed on her as the leader of the single largest party in the victorious camp after the 14th General elections.
Barring the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), all the allies and the Left parties have already favoured Gandhi’s leadership.
The CPI and CPI(M) have not only come out supporting Ms Sonia as Prime Minister, but also asked all the allies and secular parties to support her candidature. Since the NCP had already announced that it would go by the ‘consensus,’ it might also ultimately fall in line with the others.
In all probability, Gandhi will meet President A P J Abdul Kalam and stake claim for government formation on Monday.
Immediately after addressing the newly elected MPs of her party in the Central Hall of Parliament following her election as CPP leader, she held discussions with CPI(M) politburo member and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu.
This was followed by meetings with Lok Jansakthi Party leader (LJP) Ram Vilas Paswan, Telengana Rastra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, Indian Union Muslim League leader E Ahmed and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supremo Shibu Soren.
Though the election of Gandhi as the leader of the 145-member Congress group was a mere formality, it gave further momentum to the government formation which Gandhi said, in her address to the CPP, would be in place “soon”.
Having sorted out the issue of Gandhi’s leadership, the focus has now shifted to the allies and Left parties joining the government or supporting it from outside. The Congress wanted all the allies and also the Left parties to have their own share of ministerial berths to ensure the stability of the new government.
There are indications that the CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc are unlikely to join the government, while the possibility of the CPI becoming part of the dispensation is not ruled out.
The Congress has invited the left parties to take part in Sunday’s meeting of allies, but their participation has not been confirmed so far.