Bhakts and party cadres kick started the week-long celebrations of Tamil Nadu’s chief minister J Jayalalithaa birthday at the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) headquarters in Chennai on Wednesday.
Referred to as ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’ (revolutionary leader), the AIADMK chief turned 68 amid party members offering prayers, state-run Amma canteen offering free food and supporters getting ‘Amma’ tattoos.
Celebrations at AIADMK Headquarters in Chennai as CM Jayalalithaa turns 68 pic.twitter.com/uk2cfbdbGd— ANI (@ANI_news) February 24, 2016
Towns and cities across the state were draped in the AIADMK colours of red and black while posters and life size cutouts of the chief minister spotted the roads. Songs from old Tamil films which featured party founder and former chief minister MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa also blared in the streets.
Watch | TN celebrates Amma’s birthday
To mark the day, government bodies and corporations will begin welfare projects across districts, including a tree plantation drive by the Hindu religious and charitable endowments department.
Birthday cake at AIADMK HQ in Chennai as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa turns 68 pic.twitter.com/t2fj7hZNKW— ANI (@ANI_news) February 24, 2016
Tree saplings will be planted in 6,868 temples in all 32 districts of the state while every female child born in a corporation hospital on Wednesday will receive a gift of Rs 10,000. Blood donation drives and medical camps are also expected to take place.
While supporters descended on the AIADMK headquarters, party sources were unsure if Jayalalithaa will make an appearance.
The party’s main rival and opposition, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in fact picked on the chief minister’s alleged aloofness, with newspaper advertisements questioning her general absence among the people.
The Opposition, including DMK treasurer MK Stalin, further questioned the state government celebrating Jayalalithaa’s birthday with elaborate functions.
Party members have been holding special prayers across temples in the state for the past fortnight, asking for her long life and health and victory in the next assembly polls.
Laddoos, coke and crackers in Chennai to mark J. Jayalalitha's birthday pic.twitter.com/XaZqbEwYAb— ANI (@ANI_news) February 24, 2016
Among the early birds to greet Jayalalithaa was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who tweeted out his wishes aside from speaking to her.
(With inputs from agencies)