Cong MPs to elect Sonia leader today
A broad consensus is emerging among the Congress's pre-election allies on Sonia Gandhi's candidature for the Prime Minister's post.
The stage is being set for the installation of Congress president Sonia Gandhi as the leader of the new government at the Centre. The uncertainty about her candidature and the possible participation of parties like the NCP and SP in government appear to be dissipating. The Congress Parliamentary Party will elect her its leader on Saturday.
A broad consensus was emerging among the Congress's pre-election allies on Sonia's candidature for the prime minister's post. The NCP, which had made her foreign origin an issue, said on Friday after a meeting of its working committee that it was willing to accept her as the leader of the secular alliance provided there was a consensus. The statement came after party chief Sharad Pawar's meeting with Sonia.
On the same day, Sonia told the Italian publication la Repubblica, in her first interview after winning the elections, that her "Italian (was) no longer that perfect".
A formal decision on whether the NCP should join the government has been left to a four-member committee.
CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet also said on Friday that Sonia would head the new government. More statements of support are expected over the next couple of days. These will translate into letters of support when the allied parties meet here on Sunday or Monday before President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam begins the process of forming the government.
Surjeet also said the SP would “associate” in the new government, though there was no confirmation from the Congress. Surjeet's announcement came after his meeting with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, but the SP leadership did not make a statement to this effect. SP general secretary Amar Singh only said that the party would "go along'' with the CPI(M).
This statement did not give much away, since the Left Front has not yet made up its mind about joining the government. It is expected to arrive at a decision over the next few days.