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Home > News > PTI

I became Prime Minister by accident: Dr Singh

January 17, 2008 22:15 IST

As uncertainty continues over the fate of the India-United States nuclear agreement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Thursday said that it will be a disappointment if the deal falls through and he will pray to God to give him the courage to be graceful under pressure.

"I have already said that if the deal does not go through, it will be a disappointment, but in life one has to learn to live with many disappointments," he said.

Singh was replying to a question after he received the Leader of the Year Award from NDTV, at a function to give away the Indian of the Year awards in various categories, in New Delhi.

When NDTV Chairman Prannoy Roy asked him how he would cope with a disappointment over the deal, he said, "I have always prayed to God to give me courage. Somebody has described courage as grace under pressure. I have tried to acquire that quality."

Asked when the general elections will be held, Singh said "I hope in 2009 at the right time." When asked if the present was not the right time, he said "I won't answer that question."

Asked whether he had ever thought of quitting, the Prime Minister said that the job he was holding was a rare privilege. "Political power is societal trust and the best way is to spend it is to do so for the good of the people," he said.

Former President A P J Abdul Kalam was given the Inspirational Leader of the Award.

Other awardees were environmentalist R K Pachauri, industrialist Mukesh Ambani, music composer A R Rahman, chess wizard Viswanathan Award, footballer Baichung Bhutia, actors Rajnikant and Shahrukh Khan [Images] and Param Vir Chakra awardee Bana Singh.

Asked if he sleeps well, the Prime Minister said "I don't sleep well all the time. If you are the Prime Minister of one billion people, whatever you do or do not do will have consequences for the one billion people. This is an awesome responsibility. Many times not sleeping well is a part of the process of politicians placed in my position."

Roy said the answer he had given showed that he was not a politician, to which Singh said he has been in politics since 1991. "I believe life is one long continuous process and I learn and re-learn," he said.

Singh added "I was a politician by accident and became Prime Minister by accident."

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