Narendra Modi Birthday LIVE Updates: Auction of Neeraj Chopra's Javelin, 'Thank You' Postcards Among Plans for 3-Week Bash as PM Turns 71

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Narendra Modi Birthday LIVE Updates: Some 50 million postcards thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “pro people welfare” schemes, film screenings and exhibitions on his life, blood donation camps, cleanliness and vaccination drives are among the activities planned by the Bharatiya Janata Party to mark PM Modi’s 71st birthday today. The activities will continue for three weeks (September 17 to October 7) as the period also marks birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay (September 25), Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) and October 7 marks the completion of 20 years in office by Modi as head of elected governments.

The party’s youth wing will mark the day as ‘Service and Dedication Campaign’, while local units of the BJP will organise prayer ceremonies and fairs in their areas with stalls set up to encourage people to download the NaMoApp, “which will help them communicate with the prime minister directly”. As many as 14 crore ration bags printed with PM Modi’s picture will also be distributed during the period, along with 71 spots in various states being cleaned under environment campaigns.

In Karnataka’s Hubballi district, preparations have been done to get 30 lakh people vaccinated on Friday. Mega health camps will also be held in all the districts of the state. Members of the SCs/STs Morcha and OBC Morcha will be distributing fruits in slums, old age homes, hospitals and orphanages. In northeastern state of Assam, at least eight lakh people are set to be inoculated today with the government activating 4,000 Covid vaccination centres. For widespread impact, a door-to-door mobilisation has begun, bulk SMSes have been scheduled, guardian ministers have been dispatched to all the districts to raise awareness about the mega drive.

In Goa, financial aid will be given 71 old age homes, orphanages in the state and 71 patients would receive monetary help from Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai for dialysis treatment. “The Governor, on this occasion, announced financial aid for 71 old-age homes, orphanages and other such institutions. Further, the Governor declared that 71 persons would receive financial assistance from Raj Bhavan for dialysis treatment from Governor’s Discretionary Fund,” a statement issued by Raj Bhavan said.

On the occasion, the Ministry of Culture will organise an e-auction of gifts and mementos received by Modi, with as many as 1,300 items on the block. It includes the javelin thrown by Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, which he had presented to the PM recently. A report in The Indian Express quoted sources in the ministry as saying the base price of the javelin is expected to be around Rs 75 lakh, and that they are expecting it to fetch above crores.

The T-shirt worn by Avani Lakhera has a base price of Rs 15 lakh, while the javelin thrown by Sumit Antil and Chopra have a base price of Rs 1 crore each. Lovlina Borgohain’s boxing gloves have a base price of Rs 80 lakh while a stole with signatures of Tokyo Olympic players has a base price of Rs 90 lakh.

The memorabilia also include sports gear and equipment of other medal-winning Olympians and Paralympians, a replica of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir presented to the PM by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and a wooden replica of the Chardham presented by Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj.

The opposition party, Congress, meanwhile has reportedly decided to mark the day as ‘Bad Omen Day’, with netizens taking a dig at the grand old party. One Twitter user asking who would be so foolish to give them such ideas to make Modi more popular?

The mega celebrations have come at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has left the country shocked, affected the normal life and economy. This also comes ahead of the 2022 elections in the politically significant state of Uttar Pradesh. PM Modi’s home state of Gujarat will also go to polls in late 2022.

A Bloomberg report quoted political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay as saying that the three-week activities are a “strategy to mollify people’s anger on mismanagement of the Covid pandemic and winning assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh”.

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