Around 110 staff of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) gathered at South Block to give a farewell to Manmohan Singh, who steps down on May 17 after a decade at the helm of the country.

"I am very thankful to you all for your service to the nation. May god bless you,” Singh told the PMO staff.

"The staff gave the Prime Minister a standing ovation," a PMO official said, adding that the staff presented him with a bouquet.

Some of the staff who have interacted with the Prime Minister during the 10 years of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule were seen wiping away their tears, the official added.

Present along with Manmohan Singh were National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee, Prime Minister's Advisor T.K.A. Nair and his Media Advisor Pankaj Pachauri.

The farewell was hosted in the spacious corridor of the PMO. It was held on Tuesday as May 14 is a holiday on account of Buddha Purnima, said a source.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will host a farewell dinner for the Prime Minister on Wednesday (May 14). A memento is expected to be presented to Singh signed by all Congress Working Committee members and Union Ministers, sources said.

Singh will demit office on May 17, a day after the results of 2014 Lok Sabha polls are declared.

On the eve of his demitting office, the Prime Minister will address the nation in a farewell speech. During his speech, Singh is expected to highlight the achievements of UPA-1 and UPA-2 over the ten-year period.

On April 30, the Prime Minister attended a farewell meeting of the Planning Commission, of which he is the chairperson.

Manmohan Singh has been the country’s Prime Minister since May 2004 when Sonia Gandhi hand-picked him for the job. The Prime Minister had earlier this year announced his retirement, after a decade at the helm of two successive United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments.

Singh joined the government as an economic adviser in the Commerce Ministry in 1971. Among the many government positions that he has occupied are Secretary in the Finance Ministry, Deputy Chairman of the

Planning Commission, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, adviser to the Prime Minister and chairman of the University Grants Commission.

Singh and his family will move to their new retirement residence at 3, Motilal Nehru Marg, where former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit used to stay.


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