Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned 72 on Saturday and marked his birthday by addressing four events covering areas as diverse as wildlife and the launch of logistics policy, as greetings poured in from leaders and other personalities eminent.
Dignitaries like President Draupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar hailed his nation-building project and transformative vision while many others including his Cabinet colleagues hailed his contribution in creating a “strong and self-reliant” India.
The ruling BJP has launched a 15-day ‘seva’ (service) exercise with its chairman JP Nadda saying serving people to mark the party’s first leader is in line with its vision.
He also opened an exhibition on the prime minister’s life at the party headquarters here.
It was a busy day for Modi who began a busy schedule releasing cheetahs brought from Namibia to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, as part of a landmark project seven decades after the animal was declared extinct in the country.
Stating that ‘Project Cheetah’ was his government’s effort for environmental and wildlife conservation, he also attempted previous dispensations to make no ‘constructive effort’ to revive the population of the world’s fastest animal in India.
He also addressed women members of a self-help group in Sheopur in the state at another event.
”Normally, I meet my mother on my birthday and seek her blessings. Today, so many mothers from Madhya Pradesh have blessed me,” he said addressing the large gathering.
The prime minister said he appreciates the blessings of thousands of mothers and described women as his strength and inspiration.
Modi said his mother would be very pleased with the outpouring of blessings from the women.
There has been a huge difference between the India of the last century and present-day Naya Bharat in the form of women’s power, Modi said at the SHG meeting.
Wishing Modi, President Murmu said the nation-building work through his unparalleled hard work, dedication and creativity continues to progress.
Vice President Dhankhar hailed him, saying his transformative vision and inspirational leadership has lifted ‘Bharat’ to new heights of glory.
Home Minister Amit Shah hailed him as the standard bearer of Indian culture who connected the country to its roots and carried it forward in all fields.
Under his far-sighted leadership, India became a global power and he distinguished himself as a world leader respected by the world, Shah said.
Modi’s life symbolizes service and dedication, he said, calling him a builder of a safe, strong and “Aatmanirbhar” new India.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi of Congress, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Sharad Pawar of NCP, Tejashwi Yadav of RJD and TRS leader and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao also wished him well.
Greetings from Congress, however, were laced with criticism of the prime minister and his policies, with his youth organization saying it was observing ‘National Unemployment Day’ on Saturday.
”Our ideological and political battles against him continue. His personal vendetta against us is intensifying. Even so, here is to wish and salute our Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 72nd birthday,’ Congress Secretary General for Communications Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.
Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was among the leaders who welcomed the Prime Minister.
”On the occasion of your birthday, best wishes for good health and long life. May Shri Pashupatinath protect you always,’ he tweeted.
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in a letter to Modi, hailed India’s efforts under the leadership of the Prime Minister to address the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
As the longest-serving guest in India, I have watched its development firsthand. Today, the country is also a rising economic power and a leader in science and technology,” he said in the letter.
The Dalai Lama also hailed the country’s “strong democratic base” and called it an example of peace and stability.
“I am delighted to say that India is on the verge of taking its rightful place in the world,” he said.
Modi’s ministerial colleagues paid strong tribute to his leadership and administrative acumen.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said his leadership had spurred progress and good governance like never before and lifted India’s prestige and self-respect to a new high.
He gave a new dimension to Indian politics and the importance of the welfare of the poor as well as development, Singh said.
Modi, the 15th Prime Minister of India, was born on September 17, 1950 in Vadnagar, Gujarat.
Pracharak RSS from an early age, Modi was drafted into the BJP organization in the second half of the 80s and became Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001.
Since then, he has achieved the unique feat of never losing state, and now national elections while he was the face of the party.
He led the BJP to win three consecutive Gujarat Assembly polls in 2002, 2007 and 2012 and the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 and 2019.
Prime Minister Modi and the BJP have used the occasion of his birthday to launch “seva” and development initiatives since 2014.
From a 15-day blood drive across the country to cleanliness and tree-planting campaigns and health camps, dozens of welfare activities have been undertaken by the ruling BJP and others. in various parts of the country to mark the Prime Minister’s birthday.
In the nation’s capital, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya donated blood at a camp set up at Safdarjung Hospital to mark the ‘Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav’ on Modi’s birthday.
So far, 5,980 camps have been approved across the country and around 1,50,000 donors have registered, an official said.
A museum highlighting the importance of water conservation, located on the Sulabh International campus, was inaugurated by Governor of Sikkim Ganga Prasad in the presence of senior officials.
The Goa government has spearheaded a cleanliness campaign at 37 beaches across the state, with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and PS Governor Sreedharan Pillai joining volunteers at Miramar Beach.
BJP workers from Lok Sabha constituency in Modi, Varanasi celebrated his birthday by worshiping ‘Maa Ganga’ and offering prayers at Kashi Vishwanath temple.
‘Namami Gange’ workers held a cleanliness campaign at Namo Ghat and also cut a cake to mark the Prime Minister’s birthday.
Exhibitions on Modi’s life were held at many places apart from that of the BJP headquarters.
An online auction of gifts the Prime Minister has received began on Saturday. Proceeds from the auction will be used for “Namami Gange”, the Clean Ganga campaign.
In his speech after the launch of the cheetah introduction project devised by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2009, Modi also thanked Namibia for its help in the cheetah reintroduction program in India.
Dressed in a pale blue kurta and tan jacket with a dark brown hat and a pair of sunglasses, the prime minister also clicked photos of the cheetahs on a DSLR camera after they were released. These animals are fitted with a transmitter collar.
”It is right that when nature and the environment are conserved, our future becomes secure. It also opens up prospects for development and progress.
“Cheetahs will once again sprint in the KNP and restore grassland ecosystems and enhance biodiversity…In the 21st century, India is sending a message to the world that economy and ecology are not opposing fields. India has shown the world that by protecting the environment, the country can also progress,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi also addressed the students virtually during the first-ever student convocation of ITI (Industrial Training Institutes).
Speaking at the launch of the National Logistics Policy in the nation’s capital, he said the world expects a lot from the country whose economic resilience during the global crisis has boosted international confidence in the country.
India is working with determination to become a developed country and its products should be globally competitive, he said.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)