RASHTRAPATI BHAVAN, NEW DELHI

April 23, 1999

PRESS RELEASE

The President held further consultations on the subject of government formation today, with legal and constitutional experts and political leaders.

Representatives of the All India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party expressed their preference for a Third Front government led by Shri Jyoti Basu, while saying that they may revise their stand of not supporting a Congress-led government if it became necessary.

The prospects of a Third Front Government led by a person acceptable to the non-BJP parties in Parliament who could also perhaps be supported by the Congress, either from outside or as a coalition partner, were discussed by some of the President's other callers also.

Ms. Mayawati conveyed to the President that the Bahujan Samaj Party was watching the situation and would decide at the appropriate time.

Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav presented a letter to the President which stated that "the Samajwadi Party will not support any party towards government formation".

Smt. Sonia Gandhi gave to the President a list of 233 MPs who would extend support for the formation of a Congress government. When it was put to her that the numbers did not add up to the requisite strength, she conveyed to the President that she would continue discussions with parties and individuals who voted against the Motion of Confidence on April 17, 1999 and advise the President on her efforts, as early as possible.

The President will shortly conclude his exploration of all the possibilities of a new government from the Twelfth Lok Sabha, arising from the outcome of the Vote of Confidence tabled on April 17, 1999. Without rushing into a hasty decision in the matter which will be of significance for the future of the country, he has considered all valuable comments from persons across the political spectrum and will take into account past precedents as well as new circumstances, some of which are altogether without earlier paradigms in India.

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