Singh becomes Indian PM again

Indian president Pratibha Patil today appointed Manmohan Singh as prime minister for a second consecutive term.

Indian president Pratibha Patil today appointed Manmohan Singh as prime minister for a second consecutive term.

He will be sworn in on Friday at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the president’s official residence in New Delhi.

Ms Patil handed over a letter to the PM when he visited her along with Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi. “I have the 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,” she wrote.

“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,” she added.

Mr Singh did not say whether MPs outside the pre-poll alliance would be included in the new cabinet, but only said: “You will come to know in due course of time.”

Key partners of the Congress met at Mrs Gandhi’s residence earlier today to decide on ministerial berths. She was re-elected leader of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) during the meeting.

The UPA won 262 seats of the required 272 to form the government when results of the month-long elections were declared on May 16. Analysts suggest that power-sharing may create complications as the coalition still needs support of 10 more MPs to complete the majority.

The Congress Party emerged as a single largest party defying the predictions of a fractured mandate.

Businessmen have hailed the rejection of communist parties as they see a more liberal business sentiment with the UPA now able to pass reforms without opposition from the left parties.

It will allow the newly-elected prime minister to pursue key reforms in insurance, pension funds, banking and retail.

The country’s stock market surged 17% as a result of the election outcome. The new government is regarded as more stable after the past three elections have resulted in hung parliaments where too many opinions had to be sought and too many views taken into consideration.

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