KEVADIYA/New Delhi :
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi turned 69 on Tuesday and spent his birthday in his home State of Gujarat offering prayers to goddess Narmada at the Sardar Sarovar dam filled to capacity for the first time, visiting the Statue of Unity and sharing a meal with his nonagenarian mother. Modi, who was greeted by leaders across the political spectrum, also addressed a public rally in Kevadia where he lauded the vision of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, saying his Government drew inspiration from the country’s former Home Minister for its decision last month on Jammu and Kashmir in an attempt to find solution to a decades-old problem. BJP chief and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, top Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, BSP supremo Mayawati, chief ministers of West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha and Delhi--Mamata Banerjee, K Chandrasekhar Rao, Naveen Patnaik and Arvind Kejriwal respectively--were among others who greeted Modi on his birthday.
Shah described Modi as a leader with strong willpower and a symbol of decisive leadership and hard work while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hailed the Prime Minister’s “visionary leadership” and said it has helped India scale new heights of glory. On his 68th birthday last year, Modi was in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi and spent time with school children.
A 569-kg ladoo was also unveiled at an event organised in Delhi by Sulabh International, a non-profit organisation, to mark Modi’s birthday as ‘Swachhta Diwas’. Modi met his mother Heeraben at her home in Gandhinagar after his public engagements. TV visuals showed Modi greeting his mother with folded hands to seek her blessings. He then sat down to have a birthday lunch with her. The TV images showed the mother and son enjoying a Gujarati thali.