Congress Hosts Farewell Dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Congress Hosts Farewell Dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

File photo of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Right) and Congress president Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who demits office this week, was given a warm farewell dinner by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. The dinner was attended by many party leaders and Union ministers. (Read: On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Last Day at Work, a Standing Ovation)

The function at 10, Janpath was held as a mark of gratitude by the party whose coalition government was led by the 81-year-old Dr Singh for 10 years. (Read: At 7 Race Course Road and PM's Office, it is Time to Pack, Catalogue)

A memento was presented to Dr Singh with signatures of top Congress leaders and Union ministers. Human Resource Development minister Pallam Raju read out the dedication inscribed on the memento, in praise and honour of the prime minister.

Both Dr Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur were presented with bouquets and party leaders were seen scrambling for a photograph with the Prime Minister, his wife and Sonia Gandhi.

However, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was not present at the farewell dinner. (Read: 'Where is Rahul Gandhi?' Heard At Sonia Gandhi's Dinner for PM)

The economist-turned-politician had announced his retirement earlier this year, saying he would not run for a third term. (Read: Congress Distances Rahul Gandhi from Potential Poll Debacle)

Most exit polls after the national election show that the BJP and its allies, led by Narendra Modi, are set for a parliamentary majority. (Read: Modi, BJP on Course for Election Victory, Exit Polls Show)

(Watch: NDTV Exit Poll: BJP and Allies Cross Half-Way Mark, Congress in Double Digits)

The Congress party, on Tuesday, had hailed Dr Singh's able handling of the government, underlining how he had led the country through difficult times. "Dr Singh's experienced and seasoned stewardship, his personal integrity and ability to lead the country through difficult times is noteworthy and India is proud to have earned so many laurels and respect during the 10 years," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said. (Also Read: On PM's Last Day at Work, Some Praise in Arun Jaitley's Critique)

Party leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, have often expressed their appreciation of Dr Singh during the UPA-I and UPA-II governments for having carved out a trajectory of clear inclusive growth, stability and social harmony in the country. (Read: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sends Farewell Letters to Various World Leaders)

Singh is expected to demit office on May 17, a day after the Lok Sabha election results are announced. He had assumed office on May 22, 2009, for his second straight term as prime minister and already holds the distinction of being the third-longest serving head of the Union government after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. (Read: Prime Minister's family gets divided between BJP, Congress)

A former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Dr Manmohan Singh has often been described as the architect of India's economic reforms. He entered politics in 1991, when he was made the Finance Minister by PV Narasimha Rao - the Prime Minister of India at the time. (Elections - Full Coverage)

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