NEW DELHI (TIP): There is a lot of activity at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and at 7, Race Course Road these days, albeit of a different kind. “We’re busy in packing,” said an official at the PMO, with eight days left for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to demit office.
Books, gifts and other articles are being carefully sorted, catalogued and packed away … “When the prime minister demits office, he wants to leave everything in proper order for his successor,” a PMO official said. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced his retirement earlier this year.
At 7 Race Course Road, which has been the official residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a decade, the family members are busy in packing articles to be moved to his new retirement residence at 3 Motilal Nehru Marg, where former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit used to stay. All gift items received by the Prime Minister or members of the PMO, like wall hangings, paintings, vases, and other artifacts and a large number of books are being systematically catalogued and put away.
The gifts the Prime Minister received, including many from foreign dignitaries, are to be catalogued and kept at the ‘toshakhana’, or treasury. The list would be available on the ministry of external affairs website. Among the articles that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh received is a bat gifted by British Prime Minister David Cameron. While handing the bat to Manmohan Singh, Cameron said it was a memento of their friendship. “You will not remain in power, and nor will I remain in power.
This will be a rememberance of our frienship,” Cameron had said smilingly as he handed over the gift, the PMO source recounted. “All books at the prime minister’s house are being catalogued. He received hundreds and hundreds of books … What he wants to take and what he wants to leave behind at the PMO are all being catalogued,” the official added, saying Manmohan Singh, who never stopped being an academic, was giving particular attention to the books he was going to take with him to read. Among the gifts are also six tea sets received as gifts from abroad. They were used to serve tea to guests at the prime minister’s residence. The tea sets will remain with the PMO.