New Delhi, Sep 16: Do you remember celebrating former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's birthday in a grand manner during his 10-year term as the country's head?
The senior Congress leader always shied away from making a big deal out of his birthday (although occasionally he used to cut a cake or two) and his party too never thought of celebrating his birthday in a big way and in the process publicise the achievements of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Probably, most of you don't even know when is Singh's birthday. Don't worry it's not a big deal as we are already tired of remembering so many birthdays, festivals and national days.
For your information, Singh was born on September 26, 1932. Thus he is all set to mark his 85th birthday soon.
Before that the entire nation is gearing up to celebrate PM Narendra Modi's birthday on Sunday in a massive fashion. Modi will turn 67 on Sunday.
Although the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre is not officially celebrating the PM's birthday, but most of the mega-events have been strategically slated to coincide with the 'big day'.
Wait a minute, if the Centre is restricting itself from showcasing its excitement to celebrate Modi's birthday, the BJP in Uttar Pradesh (the saffron party is in power in UP too) is leaving no stone unturned to make it a point that everyone in the state, especially the children, celebrate his birthday.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the UP BJP unit will be celebrating Modi's birthday in nearly 130 government-run primary schools in his Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi, on Saturday. The reason behind preponing celebrations is that on Sunday all the schools will remain closed.
As a part of the birthday celebrations, students will be given a lecture by party leaders on "public welfare schemes and achievements" of the Modi government, apart from gift packs of sweets and stationary.
The BJP leaders in UP said that it was mandatory for all the government schools to celebrate Modi's birthday. Modi supporters said that they didn't need any permission from anyone to celebrate the occasion.
On PM's birthday on Sunday, BJP workers will take part in a cleanliness drive to carry forward Modi's message on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) in UP. Along with cleanliness drive, free medical camps, decoration of the ghats (river banks) in Varanasi and a programme on Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save Girl Child, Educate Girl Child), to name a few events slated as a part of Modi's birthday celebrations in UP.
If you are amazed by the mind-blogging preparations going on to mark PM's birthday in UP, then let us tell you how Modi's supporters in Gujarat (PM's home state) are honouring the birthday boy.
As a part of Modi's birthday celebrations, a BJP worker in Gujarat, Prakaash Gurjar, wants voters to take a pledge. Gurjar is distributing pamphlets urging people to take a pledge that they will not criticise the administration "that is formed of the people, by the people and for the people".
The BJP Yuva Morcha worker has published 10 lakh copies of a form which urges people to take a pledge on three counts--"will throw garbage and dirt in the dustbin, will not dirty my country and not let anyone dirty the country." The pamphlet is called Sankalp Patr, meaning pledge letter.
The Centre will observe Seva Diwas (Day of Service) on September 17 and carry out a range of activities including building twin pit toilets, shramdaan or voluntary work, and sanitation drives.
Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharti has written to her ministerial colleagues, urging them to make arrangements for such activities in their constituencies, residential areas or any other place, and be present there.
On Friday, the Centre launched a nation-wide, fortnight-long sanitation campaign to highlight the Modi government's flagship cleanliness initiative, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The campaign, named Swachhta Hi Seva (Cleanliness is Service), was launched by President Ram Nath Kovind from Ishworiganj village in Kanpur, UP, on Friday.
The Swachhta Hi Seva initiative is also being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and focuses on mass mobilisation for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi's dream of a clean India.
Meanwhile, a Modi supporter in Jaipur will display about 2 lakh photos of the PM in a local mall as a show of devotion, and to break a world record.
If you are wondering what the birthday boy will do on his big day, Modi will inaugurate India's highest dam--the Sardar Sarovar dam--on Sunday in Gujarat, 56 years after its foundation stone was laid down by the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru.
Last year, Modi celebrated his birthday by first visiting his 97-year-old mother Heeraben Modi in Gandhinagar to seek her blessings. It's a tradition Modi has been following every year.
The PM was born in the temple town of Vadnagar in north Gujarat in 1950. He and his brother sold tea along with their father near the railway station.