A day after Dr Manmohan Singh formally kicked off his campaign for the South Delhi Lok Sabha seat, his house at 19, Safdarjung Road is in a state of chaos. Every room has a separate strategy meeting on; workers and poll managers mill around in the corridors, on the lawns, under the newly-erected shamiana. 'A quiet place for the interview?' asks a campaign manager. 'Let me know if you find one. I need it too.' In the eye of the storm sits Dr Singh, claiming to be enjoying his first-ever election, though he has already lost his voice. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Paromita Shastri and Sandipan Deb on the economy, the polity and what being an Indian politician means.
It's been a long journey for you since '91, from Dr Singh the economist to Manmohan the politician. Have you changed as a person too in that time?
Being in public life, in the public gaze has a lot of costs. I get very little time now for my family. I love my privacy, but I can't afford it. At the same time, I'm an applied economist. As finance minister, I had the unique opportunity to formulate and implement policy. I really enjoyed that and I hope that when the history of this period is written, there will be a small footnote on me that I saved the economy from certain collapse