PM’s new routine: Treadmill,TV and meeting key aides

A 50-minute brisk walk on the treadmill,a 30-minute physiotherapy session,listening to the Gurbani and plugging into some TV news...

Written by Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Published:February 22, 2009 12:49 am

A 50-minute brisk walk on the treadmill,a 30-minute physiotherapy session,listening to the Gurbani and plugging into some TV news—and yes,taking out time for clearing important files and meeting key aides too. That’s the routine Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been following for almost a week now,since the day he moved from the medical recovery room set up for him in the Guest House complex at 5 Race Course Road to his official residence at 3,Race Course Road on February 15.

It’s been almost a month since the Prime Minister underwent his coronary bypass surgery (January 24) and “better than expected” is how his personal physicians describe the pace of his recovery.

“The grafting has been successful and the blood supply to his heart is good,” says Dr K.S. Reddy,the Prime Minister’s personal physician. “As a result,the duration of his doctors’ visits has been gradually reduced while his official engagements are becoming longer.”

Family members and PMO officials say that while in the first week of Manmohan Singh’s convalescence,they were briefly allowed inside the recovery room after taking precautions like wearing sanitised slippers and using disinfectant gel,his routine is almost back to normal now.

Says a member of the Prime Minister’s family,“I was abroad for a few days and found a remarkable change in his condition when I returned.”

Doctors say they are relieved that the Prime Minister’s weight just crossed 67 kg,almost normal for his lean frame. In the past four years,it had also swung between 65-70 kg.

In the days following the surgery,the Prime Minister was briefed on important issues (he wanted updates on the Satyam scam and developments in Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and had portions of files read out to him (the Finance Bill and the budget speech,for instance). His personal interventions are now coming thick and fast.

For example,the Prime Minister was anxious about his hospitalisation resulting in the cancellation of the meeting scheduled with Chief Ministers on the implementation of the Ganga Action Plan. At his behest,Principal Secretary TKA Nair was instead asked to hold a meeting with Chief Secretaries on the subject.

Then,the TV grabs on 77-year old IIT Professor G D Agarwal’s fast-onto-death on the issue of a hydroelectric project coming up along the Ganga caught the Prime Minister’s eye. This time,it was Prithviraj Chauhan,the Minister of State in the PMO who was called to 3 Race Course Road and asked to urgently resolve the issue.

Doctors attending to the Prime Minister say that while he had been impatient to get back into action immediately after his surgery,he specifically asked if he could attend the G20 Economic Summit in London,scheduled for April 2.

Explains Dr Reddy,“We had said the Prime Minister will require about six weeks to return to his very active schedule. The London Summit will be nine weeks after his surgery and from our side,everything is on course for his foreign travel.”

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