Reticent Prime Minister a workaholic

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Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Jul 1: In the year 2010, Newsweek magazine recognised him as a world leader who is respected by other heads of state, describing him as "the leader other leaders love" and "the model of what a political leader should be". He is our Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, who still at 78, can keep punishing schedules, switching between reviewing Afghanistan and Pacific security with a visiting prime minister and meeting MPs with localised grievances.

Singh, who begins his day with a brisk morning walk on the lawns is ready for work by around 7 am. The PM's appointments typically begin around 9 am when he meets senior staffers and at times receives high-level briefings on matters considered priority in terms of security or political significance. Unlike some of his predecessors, Singh does pay attention to detail and holds regular sectoral reviews instead of leaving matters to top PMO officials.

He works right through weekends, unfazed by political storms raging around him. A few months ago, on a Saturday when Delhi's rumour mills were busy speculating about his political future, an unperturbed PM calmly oversaw a meeting on green energy options.

The afternoons often see meetings with chief ministers and senior officials and are 15-20 minute affairs and then there is file work to attend to. Singh often pens a "please examine" on representations that keeps officials busy. Despite the volume of work that awaits him every day, officials say that he is a gracious boss ever ready to hand out a generous recommendation to those who have served him. He respects diligent officers and is faintly deprecating about pushy ones.

A family man, Singh does not step out much for social dos nor does he entertain. He does watch television – some party colleagues feel he can reduce the attention he pays to news channels – and wife Gursharan is not far from his side. Even when he travels long distances within India,
his staff try to get him back to Delhi for the night.

Since he took over as the prime minister of India on May 22, 2004, the economist-turned-prime minister has been working non-stop and constantly. The PM does not believe in holidays and is not known to take a single day off from his tight work schedule.

Invariably polite and punctilious, Manmohan Singh's energy levels and intense concentration can give someone in his 20s a run for his money despite two heart surgeries.

OneIndia News

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