India's prime minister is recovering at a
New Delhi hospital following surgery to clear blocked arteries in his heart.
A team of eleven physicians operated on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh for more than eight hours.
Indian media say doctors who came to
the capital from a heart institute in Mumbai, cleared blocked arteries during
the heart bypass surgery and Mr. Singh is in stable condition.
The prime minister, at 76, has a history of heart trouble. This latest
surgery was quickly scheduled after Mr. Singh complained of chest pains and
underwent tests which determined he again had blocked arteries. He had a similar
bypass operation 19 years ago.
While he was undergoing surgery prayers
for his speedy recovery were offered at Sikh temples, known as
Mr. Singh is India's first prime minister of the Sikh faith.
Officials say until the prime minister recovers there will be collective
decision-making by the Cabinet, with meetings chaired by External Affairs
Minister Pranab Mukherjee. He briefly spoke to reporters Saturday following the
prime minister's surgery.
"We are wishing a happy, quick recovery of
prime minister and doctors are quite confident," he said. "I do hope everything
will be all right."
Government spokesmen say there is no need to appoint
an acting prime minister and Mr. Singh's Congress Party is expressing confidence
that he will continue to lead the country following national elections to be
held by May. He has led the country since 2005.
But there are concerns
about his physical well-being and political staying-power.
minister is a diabetic and has undergone prostate and other surgeries in recent
Mr. Singh has a reputation as a skilled technocrat who has guided
the world's largest democracy during an economic boom period. The real political
power in the governing Congress Party is said to rest with Sonia Gandhi, widow
of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Political analysts say Mrs.
Gandhi may be compelled to push forward her 38-year-old son Rahul as Mr. Singh's
successor if the prime minister's health becomes a mounting concern during the
upcoming election campaign.