Manmohan Singh active even as he recovers at home

February 15th, 2009 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Since returning to his official residence at 7, Race Course Road two weeks ago after a heart surgery, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been fairly active, though staying under strict medical supervision.

Besides stepping up his exercise regimen because of his improving health, the prime minister has been meeting aides, looking at urgent files, glancing through daily media summaries provided by the Press Information Bureau besides watching some television.

Because of the fear that he may still contract infection as his stitches were removed only on Feb 8 after a surgery that required five grafts, only a select few are allowed to meet up with him besides his family.

“He is in recovery mode and is keen to resume normal work as soon as possible. But he may require a couple of more weeks to fully recuperate,” said a prime ministerial aide.

Doctors who have been meeting him almost twice a day and who were till recently staying at 5 Race Course Road, another wing of the prime minister’s residential complex, believe that his recovery will be faster than they expected.

Manmohan Singh, who does not believe in holidays and is not known to take a single day off from his work schedule since he took over as the prime minister on May 22, 2004, has been also meeting up with some of his aides on policy matters that require his intervention.

The prime minister’s principal secretary, T.K.A. Nair, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and his personal secretaries, Jaideep Sarkar and Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, have been meeting him periodically to discuss “matters of urgent nature”.

Otherwise, he has been in touch with key ministers on the RAX, the hotline telephone that connects top-level bureaucrats and ministers.

“We are not encouraging personal visits at this time. Though we are happy at the pace of his progress we think it is not right to let people stream in,” said another aide, who spoke strictly on condition of anonymity.

“He is agile and very much alive to what is happening. Tomorrow (Monday) he will be watching the budget on television as well.”

While he has been recuperating, Manmohan Singh greeted people on the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti (Feb 8), sent out a condolence message on the death of freedom fighter Chaudhary Ranvir Singh and asked Nair to visit former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as his personal emissary when he was admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

With only weeks left before he is due to lead the ruling Congress into general elections, Manmohan Singh’s close aides believe that he will be in good shape but questions persist whether his health will permit him to plunge headlong into a gruelling election campaign in summer.

However, Sanjaya Baru, the prime minister’s former media advisor and who currently lives in Singapore, recently remarked on a visit here that Singh was “the kind of person who bounces back much faster than others” from medical problems.

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