India's prime minister is recovering at a New Delhi hospital following
surgery to clear blocked arteries in his heart. Surgeons in New Delhi say Manmohan Singh is recovering well following coronary bypass surgery on Saturday.
A team of
eleven physicians, most of whom came to the capital from a heart
institute in Mumbai, cleared blocked arteries of the prime minister
during the day-long heart bypass surgery.
Ramakant Panda says Mr. Singh is in stable condition. "We went ahead
and did five bypasses," he said. "The operation went on very well.
There's no problem. Only thing is because it's the second bypass it
takes a very long time to do.
He had a similar bypass operation
in Britain 19 years ago. This latest surgery was quickly scheduled
after Mr. Singh complained of chest pains and underwent tests which
determined he again had blocked arteries.
While he was
undergoing surgery prayers for his speedy recovery were offered at Sikh
temples, known as gurudwaras. 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
"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.
The prime minister is a diabetic and has undergone prostate and other surgeries in recent years.
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.
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