On Board Air India One:
Is Manmohan Singh open to a third term as Prime Minister if the UPA returns to power in the 2014 general elections? Dr Singh didn't say yes, but he didn't reject the idea either while speaking to mediapersons on board Air India One as he returned from the BRICS Summit in Durban yesterday.
"These are hypothetical questions. We will cross that bridge when we reach there," he remarked.
Asked whether he would still have the drive or the energy to continue to contribute to public life now that he is in his '80s, the Prime Minister said, "I have tried my very best to serve this country with all sincerity, with all dedication. Whether I have succeeded or not, it is for the public at large -- the people of India -- to judge."
Speaking of his minority government's precarious position post the exit of the Trinamool Congress and the DMK, Dr Singh acknowledged that he cannot "rule out the possibility" of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav pulling the rug from under the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, but was confident that his government would complete its full term.
Dr Singh's government relies heavily on Mr Yadav's crucial external support of 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha, especially after the DMK pulled out of the ruling UPA alliance earlier this month. Over the last week, Mr Yadav has made several statements to indicate that he could be rethinking that support. In the recent past, he has also repeatedly told his partymen to be ready for early elections. (Congress 'cheats and is clever': Mulayam Singh Yadav)