PM calls on President, exchanges Holi greetings
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh calling on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of Holi.

PM calls on President, exchanges Holi greetings

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped out of his 7, Race Course Road residence for the first time after his January 24 coronary bypass surgery to call on President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. Except for a couple of visits for check-ups to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr Singh has been resting at home since the surgery and doctors say his recovery has been fast and impressive. According to sources, he has been attending to important official work from home. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the President today lasted about half an hour and the two leaders exchanged greetings on the occasion of Holi, Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said. They also discussed various matters of national and international importance, the sources added. Last week, Dr Singh held his first official meeting after the surgery when he held talks with the visiting President of Benin. Yesterday morning, in his first public engagement after returning home from hospital, Dr Singh had a meeting with girls from the Urdu medium schools of Delhi on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi. Talking to them, he said the country could not prosper until the women of the country progress and girls are given equal opportunities to study in schools and colleges. He said the country's Constitution gave full freedom to the people to practise any religion of their choice, but it did not give anyone the licence to criticise or run down other religions. The Prime Minister also expressed satisfaction over the good results of the Urdu medium schools, saying that Urdu language was a living example of India's Ganga-Jamuna "tehzeeb". He said that his government had done much to promote Urdu, and assured that it would continue to do all that was necessary to promote the language. In the evening, Dr Singh lit the "holika" on the eve of Holi festival and exchanged greetings with people present on the occasion. With doctors of the view that he is now fit to resume regular duties, the Prime Minister is understood to be planning to visit London in early April for the G-20 meeting, during which he is also likely to meet US President Barack Obama on the sidelines. Dr Singh is nearing the end of his five-year term and elections to choose a new Lok Sabha will be held from April 16 in five phases till mid-May. INT
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