President Pratibha Patil on Monday dissolved the 14th Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the outgoing Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In an official communiqué released by the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, the President signed an order dissolving the Lok Sabha thus paving the way for the formation of the next government.
Earlier, Manmohan Singh met the President and submitted the resignations of the members of his council of ministers. Manmohan Singh, who also formally stepped down as prime minister, was asked to continue as the head of a caretaker government.
President Patil, who hosts a dinner for the outgoing cabinet later in the evening, will invite Manmohan Singh to form the next government on Tuesday.
The tally of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rose to 263 with the independent MP from Ladakh joining the National Conference, which is part of the UPA.
Now the UPA is nine short of the magic halfway mark of 272 seats needed for majority in the 545-member house, of which 543 are elected.
At the final cabinet meeting at the prime minister's 7, Race Course Road residence, where the ministers submitted their resignations, a resolution of appreciation for Manmohan Singh was passed.