source: Dr Manmohan Singh: A brand to trust- Comments & Analysis-Opinion-The Economic Times Dr Manmohan Singh: A brand to trust 26 Sep 2009, 0044 hrs IST, Gajanan Khergamker, ET Bureau It wasn't without reason that a billion plus in India heaved a sigh of relief when prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's most recent bypass went through without any hitches. After decades, we had got a PM whose commitment towards India could be trusted blindly. Integrity seems to be prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's middle name. After the 2004 general elections, during which the Indian National Congress (INC) became the political party with the single largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi declared Dr Manmohan Singh, a technocrat, as the UPA candidate for the prime minister’s post. Now, considering the fact that Dr Singh hadn't won a single Lok Sabha seat, it was an innate trust in his integrity and commitment that won him the support of the UPA allies and the Left Front. The first Sikh and non-Hindu to hold office, Singh took the oath as the Prime Minister of India on May 22, 2004. After Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Manmohan Singh is the first PM to return to power after having served a full term of five years. And, very successfully, he quashed all opposition talk of being a "weak" PM by leading Congress to a resounding win in the 2009 polls in which the party and its allies put together a comfortable majority with support from 322 members out of a total 543 members. True to his wont, Dr Singh maintained a restrainedsilence while his retractors wentto town with talk of being "weak" vindicating his stand adequately with a resounding success in polls. "After many years, we've got a prime minister who, besides being so highly educated, maintains such a distinguished non-controversial profile," says Raigad resident Devdatta Jogalekar. "Besides being bad for tourism, our relations with other nations also take a bashing if we're associated with riots, communal killings and hard-nosed politics," he adds. "Having a married ex-finance minister for a prime minister helps us home-makers a lot," says his wife Savita. "Like they say, aate daal ka bhaav pata hoga," she says. "Even in his interviews, he comes across as one who isn't distanced from reality," adds Savita. Today, as he turns 77, the nation's entrepreneurs and business community join in with the common man and environmentalists alike to wish him good health and a long life ahead. After all, Manmohan Singh's role in India's liberalisation is historic, to say the least.