Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 11:51 UK

India PM prepares for new cabinet

PM Manmohan Singh
Mr Singh has indicated he wants some younger faces in the new cabinet

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has resigned along with his cabinet two days after leading his Congress party to a decisive victory in the elections.

Mr Singh held the last meeting of his outgoing cabinet before handing in the resignations to the president.

The president is expected to invite him to form a government on Tuesday. In the interim, Mr Singh will continue as PM.

With all the results declared now, the Congress-led alliance has won 262 seats with the BJP-led group on 158.


"This was the last meeting of the cabinet and we passed the resolution to dissolve the Lok Sabha [lower house of parliament]," Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav told reporters after the meeting.

We are lending unconditional support to the government
Laloo Prasad Yadav,
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader

The meeting agreed to tender the resignations of the council of ministers to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Reuters news agency reports.

Mr Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party, which was part of the ruling alliance in the outgoing government, said his party would support the new Congress-led government.

"Yes we are lending unconditional support to the government. And we said this in the meeting as well," Mr Yadav said.

After the meeting, Mr Singh drove to the presidential palace to meet the president and hand in the resignations.

A Congress supporter
The Congress sweep has delighted its supporters

The Congress party, which alone won 206 seats, needs a handful of partners to reach the necessary 272 to be able to form a government.

Congress leaders have already been meeting smaller parties to gain the few seats of support needed to form a workable coalition.

President Patil is due to invite Mr Singh on Tuesday to ask him to form the next government.

The focus now moves to the cabinet formation, with Mr Singh having already stressed the importance of youth.

He has said he hopes to persuade the rising star of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty - Rahul Gandhi - to join the cabinet.

Mr Gandhi's decision for Congress to go it alone in India's most politically important state - Uttar Pradesh - and the ease of his campaigning style have won many plaudits.

Analysts say the formation of the Congress cabinet should be smooth as it will not have to rely on difficult coalition partners.

Several ministers were defeated - including those for steel, women and child development and minority affairs - so there will be fresh faces.

The scale of the Congress victory has surprised almost everyone in India and hopes for a strong stable government have risen.

The confidence reflected on India's main stock index, which rose 10% on Monday as trading opened.

Manmohan Singh is the first prime minister to be re-elected after serving a full first term since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.

India's new government must convene by 2 June.

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Coalition Total
United Progressive Alliance 262
National Democratic Alliance 158
Third Front 76
Fourth Front 27
Other Parties 20

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Scramble by rivals, UPA to get new allies - 4 hrs ago
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