New Delhi: India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh will undergo coronary artery bypass surgery on Saturday, the government said, after medical tests showed blockages were found in his arteries.
“Dr. Manmohan Singh would be undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery on 24 January,” the government said in a statement.
The 76-year-old leader could be admitted to a hospital on Friday, the prime minister’s office said.
Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee could take over prime ministerial responsibilities while Singh was recovering from the surgery, a foreign ministry official said.
A general election is due by May this year and Singh is expected to continue as prime minister if the Congress coalition wins.
But any doubts about his health could undermine his re-election campaign, coming just as reports surface that Rahul Gandhi, heir to one of India’s most powerful family dynasties, could be his successor.
Singh underwent bypass surgery in 1990 in the United Kingdom. He also underwent wrist surgery in 2006, a prostate gland surgery and a cataract removal procedure last year, officials said.
Indian shares extended losses after the news, with the benchmark BSE index falling more than 1.5% before regaining some ground.