AFTER a decade of ruling the country, Manmohan Singh resigned as the prime minister on Saturday, describing his tenure in office as an “open book”.
In his brief televised address to the nation, his last as prime minister, Singh bid farewell and thanked people for the “love and kindness” bestowed on him, an “underprivileged child of Partition”, and said he would never be able to repay the “debt” of being “empowered enough” to occupy the highest office. The 81-year-old leader, who had the third longest term as PM, said serving this nation had been his “privilege” and there was nothing more that he could ask for.
“As I have said on many occasions, my life and tenure in public office are an open book. I have always tried to do my best in serving this great nation of ours,” he said in his statement. While asking for the judgement delivered in these elections to be respected by all, he claimed the polls have “deepened the foundations of our democratic polity” and wished the incoming government “every success”.
Singh was picked for the post by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2004, and while his first term as Prime Minister was largely lauded, his second term was marred by allegations of several corruption scams against his government. He also received flak for remaining silent on crucial issues, earning him the tag of being a “weak” PM. “Ten years ago, when I was entrusted with this responsibility, I entered upon it with diligence as my tool, truth as my beacon and a prayer that I might always do the right thing,” he said in his statement.
Looking back at the past 10 years, Singh said the country had seen “many successes and achievements that we should be proud of”. “Today, India is a far stronger country in every respect than it was a decade ago. I give credit for these successes to all of you,” he said, underlining he was “confident” about the future of India. “I firmly believe that the emergence of India as a major powerhouse of the evolving global economy is an idea whose time has come. Blending tradition with modernity and unity with diversity, this nation of ours can show the way forward to the world.”
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Earlier in the day, the Cabinet, the last under the UPA II regime, met and recommended the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, also adopting a resolution lauding Singh’s role signed by all the ministers.
Following this, Singh drove to Rashtrapati Bhavan to submit the resignation of his Council of Ministers to President Pranab Mukherjee, who accepted the resignation and requested Singh and his colleagues to continue till the new government is formed.
At the end of the day, President Mukherjee hosted a dinner for Singh and his colleagues. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj was also present at the dinner.