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PM's midnight tryst with media

The Capital's terror attacks led to an unexpected fallout at his official residence on late Saturday night.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2005 20:38 IST

The Capital's terror attacks led to an unexpected fallout: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first tryst with the media at midnight.

More than 50 journalists, including TV crew and foreign correspondents, trooped into the Prime Minister's official residence at 7, Race Course Road on late Saturday night around 11.30 pm at the invitation of his office, anticipating a major announcement.

Singh had just returned to the Capital after cutting short his visit to Kolkata, saying that the bombings in New Delhi "required my presence".

Media persons waited for more than half an hour at the Panchavati conference centre at Singh's house. He was closeted with senior ministers and officials, including Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

As a grim-looking Singh came in, there was a buzz in the room and television cameras swung into action.

Singh, with Patil, Home Secretary VK Duggal, Delhi Police Commissioner KK Paul and media adviser Sanjaya Baru by his side, quickly read out a one-page statement expressing "shock and distress" at the tragedy and adding that the nation "shall defeat the nefarious designs" of terrorists.

The statement over, the journalists prepared to throw in follow up questions. But much to their disappointment, Singh refused to answer any, although he remained to listen to a question that wondered whether the terrorist strike had anything to do with India's growing ties with the US.

"I would not like to comment any further," a visibly tired Singh said before leaving the hall. Many disappointed journalists wondered why they were brought at that unearthly hour in the first place.