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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resigns

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resigned today, capping a 10-year tenure of two UPA governments that have been brought to an end by a shattering defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Manmohan SinghManmohan Singh. File Pic

81-year-old Singh drove to the Rasthrapati Bhavan from his official residence 7, Race Course Road, to submit the resignation of his Council of Ministers. "The President has accepted the resignation of Manmohan Singh and has requested him and his colleagues to continue till the new government is formed," a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.

In the morning, Manmohan Singh gave a televised farewell address to the nation where he acknowledged his debt to the country that empowered him, "an underprivileged child of partition", to occupy the high office of prime minister and said he had tried to do his best in serving the country.

He said the just concluded national election, in which the Congress suffered its worst defeat, "deepened the foundations of our democratic polity" and its judgement should be respected by all.

He said: "India is a far stronger country in every respect than it was a decade ago."

The Prime Minister and Mukherjee, who had worked in Singh's Cabinet as Finance, Defence and External Affairs Minister, exchanged bouquets. Singh handed over his resignation and the recommendation of the Cabinet for dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha, which is just a formality.

After their brief meeting, Mukherjee, in a rare gesture, came to the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to see off Singh. They shook hands for sometime and were seen in an intimate conversation. Singh then also took leave of the Rashtrapati Bhavan officials, including the President's Secretary Omita Paul.

Earlier this morning, the Cabinet met and recommended dissolution of the Lok Sabha. The Cabinet adopted a resolution lauding the role of Singh.

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