India Politics
I am an Assamese at heart, says PM
May 9, 2007 - 4:31:35 PM

Guwahati, May 9 - Born to Punjabi parents in the Punjab province of undivided India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday struck an emotional chord with the people in his adopted home state of Assam by saying he is an Assamese at heart.

'I may have been born elsewhere, but I am today an Assamese at heart,' the prime minister said.

He was speaking to Congress party legislators in the Assam assembly soon after filing his nominations seeking re-election for the fourth straight term to the Rajya Sabha.

'I feel emotional and sentimental on this occasion. For the last 16 years I have represented Assam in the Rajya Sabha and I am extremely grateful to the people of Assam and to the Congress legislative party for nominating me for another term,' Singh said in an emotive speech that touched many of the members present.

'I know my inadequacies, but it has been my sincere effort all these years to represent Assam and to be worthy of your trust.'

The prime minister's political career began in Assam when the late chief minister Hiteswar Saikia offered him a Rajya Sabha seat to contest in 1991. He was at that time the finance minister during the tenure of late prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. He served his second term in 1995 and was re-elected again in 2001.

Not only did Saikia offer him a Rajya Sabha seat, he also let out his own house to Singh with a nominal rent of Rs.545. The rent has now been hiked to Rs.733 per month.

The modest house in the heart of the city is the prime minister's residential address and on Wednesday he came from the rented accommodation to file his nominations. He often refers Assam as his adopted home state.

'I have tried hard to contribute to Assam's development. It is my sincere hope that our government can lay the foundations for a vibrant and prosperous Assam and the northeast,' Singh said. Many of those present during his speech was moved by the speech.

'It was a speech that many of us would remember forever as we was highly emotional,' Assam Education Minister Ripun Bora told IANS.

'My prayer is that I should be worthy of your trust. I thank you from the core of my heart for your support, your affection and your trust,' the prime minister said.

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