Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa on Monday turned 66.
Putting her partymen into the poll mode on her birthday, the AIADMK General Secretary named the party's candidates for the 40 Lok Sabha seats -- 39 in Tamil Nadu and the lone Puducherry Constituency.
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Ministers and alliance party leaders besides many members of the tinseltown greeted Jayalalithaa on the occasion.
Her birthday was marked by the usual festive mood as a 66-kg cake was cut at the AIADMK headquarters here even as loyal party workers turned up to have a glimpse of their 'Puratchi Thalaivi' (Revolutionary Leader).
A 66 kg cake depicting Parliament being cut at the AIADMK headquarters to commemorate the 66th birthday of party supremo and chief minister J Jayalalithaa at their party office in Chennai. PTI
Prayers and welfare activities also marked the birthday of 'Amma' (Mother) as she is fondly addressed by partymen while microphones in street-corners played popular film songs of Jayalalithaa opposite her mentor, the charismatic MG Ramachandran, both yesteryear actors who made successful political careers.
Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University launched a 66-hour music and art festival starting today to commemorate her birthday.
Jayalalithaa started her career as a Rajya Sabha MP after being introduced to politics by Ramachandran. She later consolidated her position in the party and went on to capture power for the first time in 1991.
In the neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry, the birthday celebrations were marked by distribution of garments to the poor besides cycle rickshaws, sewing machines, household utensils and several other commodities under the party's welfare schemes covering 6,600 beneficiaries.
The party's local unit secretary A Anbalagan, MLA launched the welfare schemes along with the other legislators of the party and functionaries at various centres here.
Special poojas were performed to presiding deities at the Manakula Vinayakar and Sithananda Swamigal temples to seek the blessings of the Almighty for the leader's long life, Anbalagan said.
Special prayers were also held at a number of churches and mosques. Party workers distributed sweets.
AIADMK workers cut a cake to celebrate Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's 66th birthday in Coimbatore. PTI Photo
Campaign from Kanchipuram
The party announced that it would begin the election campaign for Lok Sabha polls on March 3 from Kanchipuram, about 70 km from here.
The "whirlwind" first phase of the campaign would cover several regions of Tamil Nadu, including Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari and Chidambaram, an AIADMK press release said.
Advocates dominate list of AIADMK nominees
Advocates dominated the list of AIADMK's nominees for the coming Lok Sabha elections as party chief J Jayalalithaa renominated three of the nine sitting MPs for a successive term.
Party's Parliamentary Leader M Thambidurai (Karur), Dr P Venugopal MBBS (Tiruvallore-SC) and P Kumar (Tircuhirappally) were lucky to be renominated as candidates to the same constituencies for the ensuing polls by Jayalalithaaa at an announcement coinciding with her 66th birthday celebrations.
A total of 15 advocates were among the candidates the AIADMK supremo announced for all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone Puducherry segment. Four were doctors even as most of the candidates have at least an undergraduate degree.
Noting that seat-sharing talks were still continuing with allies CPI-M and CPI, Jayalalithaa made it clear that once the agreement with them was reached, her party nominees of constituencies later allotted to them would withdraw.
PM, Modi greet Jayalalithaa
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP's prime minsterial candidate Narendra Modi were among the leaders who greeted Tamil Nadu chief minister.
Singh greeted Jayalalithaa over the telephone this morning and the chief minister thanked him for it, an official press release said.
Modi in his message on social networking site Twitter said, "Birthday greetings to Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa ji. I pray for her long life & good health."