India's PM bids goodbye to personal staff

Standing applause and emotional sendoff mark the last day of Manmohan Singh in office.

    India's PM bids goodbye to personal staff
    Manmohan Singh, who became the prime minister in 2004, is expected to hold the last cabinet meet on Saturday [EPA]

    India's outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has bid goodbye to his personal staff amid standing ovation and emotional farewell at his office, according to reports.

    It was Singh's last day at work after 10 years in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

    "You served the nation well. God bless you," Singh told his staffers on Tuesday according to the English-language NDTV channel.

    Singh, who became the prime minister in 2004, may also announce the country's new army chief despite objections from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is poised to win the national elections.

    Meanwhile, BJP's top leader Arun Jaitley has heaped praises on Singh saying the prime minister's "personal integrity was always above board".

    But Jaitley also criticised Singh for never having the last word.


    Blog: On accidental and reluctant prime ministers


    He said, "It was the inability to speak up within his own party that may compel the historians to take a different view of the man (Manmohan Singh)."

    Voting closed on Monday in India's national elections, with several exit polls indicating big win for Hindu nationalist coalition led by 63-year-old Narendra Modi. Results are due on May 16.

    Four major exit polls have suggested that the BJP and its allies were set to sweep to a parliamentary majority in an election that saw 551 million people turn out to vote.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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