BHUBANESWAR: Wishes poured in for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from across the country on his 75th birthday even as he skipped the celebrations this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Leaders cutting across party lines from all parts of the country including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wished him.
Greeting the Chief Minister in a tweet, the Prime Minister prayed for a long and healthy life for him in the service of people. “Greetings to Shri Naveen Patnaik Ji on his birthday. I pray that he is blessed with a long and healthy life in service of the people,” he said.
The Defence Minister also wished him a long life. “Greetings and warm wishes to Odisha Chief Minister, Shri Naveen Patnaik ji on his birthday. May he be blessed with good health and long life,” he said.
Those who greeted the Chief Minister included Governor of Odisha Ganeshi Lal, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, several other union ministers and senior BJP leaders, former union ministers Juel Oram and Dilip Ray, president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee Niranjan Patnaik, leader of the Congress Legislature Party Narasingh Mishra and industrialist Naveen Jindal.
Sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik created a sculpture of the Chief Minister to wish him. Naveen had announced on Friday that he will not celebrate his birthday in view of the pandemic. “People have been facing a lot of hardship due to Covid-19 for the last two and a half years. Instead of visiting Naveen Niwas (the CM’s residence), the CM has appealed to his well-wishers to help those who have been bereaved due to Covid,” a release from the CMO said.
Meanwhile, Odisha Mo Parivar, the social service wing of the BJD, organised blood donation camps across the State and collected more than 5,000 units of blood. The Chief Minister had first decided against celebrating his birthday in 2011 for the flood victims. He has not celebrated birthday seven times since then, including in 2020 for the first wave of Covid-19, in 2018 and 2019 for Titli and Fani cyclones.