Chennai, Feb 24: Cutting of a 68-kg cake by her ministers, special prayers in places of worship across the state, mega feasts and welfare measures marked the birth day celebrations of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, who turned 68 today.
Popular 'Amma Unavagam', the subsidised canteens run by Corporation of Chennai, distributed free food for people as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of dignitaries including Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and TRS MP and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, K Kavita, greeted Jayalalitha on the occasion.
The Prime Minister, who is said to enjoy good ties with the AIADMK supremo, also wished her over phone and she thanked him for the gesture.
"Birthday wishes to Jayalalithaa ji. May Almighty bless her with a long life, filled with good health," he said in a tweet. Tamil Nadu ministers participated in special prayers in places of worship while mega feast, 'annadanam', and distribution of welfare measures were undertaken by AIADMK workers all across the state.
At Chennai a 68 kg cake was cut by ministers and party workers. A similar initiative was held at Villupuram. As many as 18 lakh callers had greeted Jayalalithaa on a dedicated phone line established for this purpose, party's IT Wing Secretary K Swaminthan said. "We have received 18 lakh calls as of 12 noon today and we expect to cross 25 lakh by midnight," he told PTI.
Rosaiah heaped praise on Jayalalithaa and credited her with making the state a 'model' one. "Your rich acumen, wisdom, dynamism and affection towards the people have made Tamil Nadu a model state for people's welfare projects.
I wish you a long, happy and healthy life in your mission to steer Tamil Nadu to greater heights," he said in a message to Jayalalithaa, accompanied by a bouquet. Chandrababu Naidu and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu wished her over phone.
US Consul General in Chennai, Philip A Min, yesteryear actor B Saroja Devi and Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali were among others who greeted the CM.
The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, which manages a large number of temples across the state, launched a massive tree sapling planting drive, covering 68 Shaivite and Vaishnavite temples across the state. While Vilvam (bael) saplings were planted in Shaivite temples, Punnai (Alexandrian Laurel) and Magizham (ape flower tree) were planted in Vaishnavite temples, by the department.