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All work, no break for PM

delhi Updated: Sep 30, 2011 13:45 IST

AFP
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Workaholic Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not taken a holiday since he took the top job in 2004, according to a new in-depth profile published this week.



The 12,000-word study in current affairs journal The Caravan of 79-year-old Singh, under fire for a series of debilitating scandals in his second-term, said he shunned opportunities to get away and take a break.



Former media adviser Sanjaya Baru said the one-time economics professor had little interest in relaxation, recalling an official day-long visit to the popular tourist destination of Goa.

"I said to him, 'sir, it's a weekend. Why don't we stay Saturday night, spend Sunday morning on the beach and come back Sunday evening. You don't miss a working day'.

"You know what he asked? 'But what do I do there?' Only Manmohan Singh could ask what he could do in Goa," Baru said.

Singh's daughter Daman Singh said she could recall her father taking only one vacation with the family in the last 40 years, a three-day visit to Nainital, a hill station 232 kilometres (144 miles) from New Delhi.

"As children we just assumed that's the way all fathers are. He hasn't changed at all," said the author, who is working on a book about her parents.

The report says Singh, hailed as the architect of India's economic liberalisation, sticks to his old austere habits, shunning fancy restaurants, expensive suits and luxury cars.

Singh's core appeal to voters as a capable and honest administrator in the nation's venal politics has taken a battering in the last year after a series of major corruption scandals.

While he is not personally implicated in them, he is accused by critics of failing to prevent the so-called 2G scam in which mobile phone licences were sold at rock-bottom prices in 2008.

The former telecom minister in Singh's administration, A. Raja, is awaiting trial on charges of fraud and corruption.