Manmohan Singh resigns, Union cabinet suggests dissolution of 15th Lok Sabha
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resigned on Saturday, capping a 10-year tenure of two United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments brought to an end by a shattering defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
81-year-old Singh drove to the Rasthrapati Bhavan from his official residence 7, Race Course Road, to submit the resignation of his Cabinet 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.
Singh and Mukherjee 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.
Earlier this morning, the Cabinet met and recommended dissolution of the Lok Sabha. The Cabinet adopted a resolution lauding Singh’s role.
In his farewell address to the nation on Saturday, Singh once again tried to clarify that his role in high office, which was controversial and underwhelming, was transparent.
“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,” Singh said in his last address on Saturday.
Singh is expected to submit his resignation on Saturday.
On Friday, Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as a clear winner in the elections to the 543-member Lok Sabha. Modi is expected to be sworn in as prime minister on 21 May. Singh’s Congress party which returned to power with an impressive tally of 206 in 2009 elections has been decimated and has won only 46 seats in the elections.
Singh, who spoke first in Hindi and later in English, said everyone should respect the judgment that people have delivered. “I’m aware that well before the final judgement that we all await from the Almighty, there is a judgment in the court of public opinion that elected officials and governments are required to submit themselves to,” he said
Singh, the economist-turned-Prime Minister who has often been accused of being a non-political leader and one who failed to rein in corruption in high offices under the UPA government, has earlier also said that the allegations against him were baseless and that “history will judge” him.
Singh said the country has witnessed many successes and achievements that Indians 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 talent development potential in our country and we must collectively work to realize it,” he said.
He said he owed everything to this country, which had “empowered” him enough to rise and occupy high office despite being an “underprivilleged child of partition”.
He added that India could emerge as a major powerhouse and show the world the way forward by “blending tradition with modernity and unity with diversity.”
PTI contributed to this story.