Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated his 66th birthday on Saturday by seeking the blessings of his mother and will attend a clutch of programmes organised by his Bharatiya Janata Party to mark the day.
Travelling in a small cavalcade of three vehicles, Modi visited his mother Hiraba at 7.15am—almost an hour earlier than his scheduled time—at the residence of his youngest brother Pankaj Modi in Gandhinagar.
The PM spent around 40 minutes at ‘Saket’ in Raisan area of the state capital and met other family members too. He reportedly ate sukhadi, a Gujarati sweet made with wheat flour and jaggery in ghee.
From there, the PM left for Raj Bhawan to meet Chief Justice of India TS Thakur who is in Gujarat to attend a state-level judicial conference.
After meeting the CJI, Modi will leave for Limkheda in the tribal district of Dahod to inaugurate water supply irrigation projects. He will also address a public rally in the town.
“The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Kadana-Hafeshwar irrigation project, which will provide water to several remote villages of this district,” Dahod district collector Lalit Padaliya had said earlier this week.
Later in the day, he will travel to Navsari where he is scheduled to meet differently-abled people and distribute various kits and aids to them.
The BJP has lined up a series of events across the state to mark Modi’s birthday, which is being celebrated as Sewa Diwas . MPs and ministers have been asked to travel to different parts of the country and spend time with the poor and underprivileged. Leaders, however, have been advised against publicising the events.
The party has also planned to reach out to the general public, who can directly wish the PM using a special section of the Narendra Modi app. People can send their wishes in the form of a customised greeting card through the app.
They can use their own photos with the PM in making this card, sources said. Once the card is sent, a user will get a personalised video in return, they said, adding it can be easily shared and act as a unique souvenir.
Modi landed in Ahmedabad on Friday night and was accorded a grand reception by Gujarat governor OP Kohli, the entire Gujarat cabinet including chief minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP leaders and hundreds of party workers.
This is his third visit in recent months to Gujarat, where assembly elections are due next year with the BJP facing an upsurge of protests from the influential Patidar community and Dalits.
His first visit was on August 15 to condole the death of a saint of the Swaminarayan sect, Pramukhswami Maharaj. A fortnight later, he visited Saurashtra to inaugurate Saurashtra Narmada Avataran for Irrigation (SAUNI) scheme for the region.
Police detained Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani – the face of statewide Dalit protests against atrocities by alleged cow protectors – late on Friday night as a preventive measure ahead of Modi’s birthday celebrations.