New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resigned today, capping a 10-year tenure of two UPA governments that has been brought to an end by a shattering defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
81-year-old Singh drove to the Rashtrapati Bhavan from his official residence 7, Race Course Road, to submit the resignation of his Council of Ministers.
“The President has accepted the resignation of Manmohan Singh and has requested him and his colleagues to continue till the new government is formed,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.
The Prime Minister and Mukherjee, who had worked in Singh’s Cabinet as Finance, Defence and External Affairs Minister, exchanged bouquets.
Singh handed over his resignation and the recommendation of the Cabinet for dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha, which is just a formality.
After their brief meeting, Mukherjee, in a rare gesture, came to the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to see off Singh. They shook hands for sometime and were seen in an intimate conversation. Singh then also took leave of the Rashtrapati Bhavan officials, including the President’s Secretary Omita Paul.
Earlier this morning, the Cabinet met and recommended dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
The Cabinet adopted a resolution lauding the role of Singh.
Earlier in his farewell televised address to the nation, Manmohan Singh said he had tried to do his best in serving India and his tenure of 10 years was an “open book”.
He said the judgement delivered by the people in the elections should be respected by all and wished the incoming government every success.
Looking back at his tenure, he said India saw many successes and achievements “that we should be proud of” and the country has become far stronger in last one decade. But it still has vast latent development potential.
“I address you today for the last time as Prime Minister of India. 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,” Singh said in his brief address.
“Today, as I prepare to lay down office, I am aware that well before the final judgment that we all await from the Almighty, there is judgment in the court of public opinion that all elected officials and governments are required to submit themselves to.
“Fellow citizens, each one of us should respect the judgement that you have delivered. The just concluded elections have deepened the foundations of our democratic polity,” he said. Singh, an economist who had achieved the distinction of serving two continuous tenures as Prime Minister, the only one to do so after the first PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s 17 years in office, chose the occasion to refer to his humble origin as “an underprivileged child of Partition”.
“This great land of ours where I, an underprivileged child of Partition, was empowered enough to rise and occupy high office. It is both a debt that I will never be able to repay and a decoration that I will always wear with pride.
“As I leave office, my abiding memory will be the love and kindness that I have always received from you,” he said.
Singh, whose second tenure between 2009 and 2014 saw the government battling various corruption scandals, insisted, “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 added, “In the last ten years, we as a country have 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. However, there is still vast latent development potential in our country and we must collectively work hard to realize it.”
Asserting that he is confident about the future of India, Singh said, “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.”
Noting that serving this nation has been his privilege and there is nothing more that he could ask for, he said, “I wish the incoming government every success as it embarks on its task and pray for even greater successes for our nation.”