PM darbar after 2 yrs, draws artists to Jalandhar ‘thinkers’

ManmohanPrime Minister Manmohan Singh signing autographs to children during the public darbar at his residence in New Delhi, Saturday. (PTI)

Members of a thinkers' forum and a Roller Skating Foundation, and a "memory world record holder". These were among the people who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a janta darbar held at his residence Saturday after a gap of two years. While such darbars were held regularly in UPA I as well as the early part of UPA II, they had been discontinued in recent years.

With general elections less than five months away, the darbar is being read as an attempt to assert the accessibility of the PM.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said Singh met the visitors for close to an hour. "He received petitions from these groups, who came from various states, and listened to their grievances and complaints," sources said.

While such meetings were first held during the reign of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi continued them during his tenure as PM. "During his first term as PM, Singh used to hold janta darbars on an annual basis, and on one occasion it was held twice," sources said.

The visitors included artists such as Siddharth Iyer and Sudarsan Pattnaik, as well as sportsmen such as those from the Roller Skating Association of Andhra Pradesh. Others included members of minority right associations such as the Sarv Samaj Shiksha Welfare Society, Meerut, and the All Assam Minorities Students' Union. The Uttar Pradesh Congress's minority cell and the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee also met the PM.

Besides, he met the 'National Thinkers Forum', Jalandhar; Prijesh Merlin, Limca and Guinness Book 'Memory World Record Holder'; members of the Chartered Accountants' Cell, GPCC, and the All India Defence Civilian Canteen Employees' Union.

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