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PMO leads UPA pack- up in last lap.

WITH the mammoth election process set to come to a halt next week, the Prime Minister's Office is busy making way for Manmohan Singh's successor.

Singh, who has already announced his retirement from politics, will demit office on May 17, a day after the announcement of the election results. One of the longest serving prime ministers, Singh will sign off with a farewell address to the people next week.

PMO officials said preparations are underway for Singh to move out as gifts and books are being packed and catalogued.

Singh spent 10 years in the PMO, during which a large number of gifts from foreign dignitaries have piled up.

Most of these gifts will be deposited in the "toshakhana" of the Ministry of External Affairs and Singh, known for his simple lifestyle, will carry with him only some books. The details of the gifts are being made available on the ministry's website.

From 7 Race Course Road, the prime minister's official residence, Singh will move to 3 Moti Lal Nehru Marg, a bungalow vacated by former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who moved to Kerala as Governor after losing the Assembly elections in the Capital.

The CPWD is preparing the new bungalow for Singh who will not keep his official residence for long.

A PMO official was quoted as saying that Singh wants to leave things in order for his successor.

He had announced his retirement in a news conference earlier this year.

Singh was also one of the most travelled prime ministers and developed a rapport with several world leaders.

The PMO is full of paintings, vases and artifacts as gifts. It has also been reported that one of the gifts the PM received was a cricket bat from David Cameron.

The PM is an avid reader and some books might accompany him to his new house. The entire book collection is being catalogued. Tea sets received from abroad as gifts were used to serve guests at the PM's residence and these will remain part of the PMO. Singh's address to the people will be his last appearance as the prime minister. In his last news conference earlier this year, he had expressed the hope that history would be kinder to him than his critics.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:May 9, 2014
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