With cutouts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi everywhere, almost every government school across Varanasi celebrated his birthday. This is PM Modi’s 67th birthday. Songs were sung, sweets distributed, and classes cancelled in almost all schools to hold the function. However, according to Brij Bhushan Chaudhary, Varanasi district Basic Shiksha Adhikari said,”I do not know about any such event. We forwarded no written notification to primary schools.” He was speaking to Indian Express. Meanwhile, Ashok Chaurasiya, BJP Kashi district secretary said the party needed no permission because all the primary schools were “adopted” by the party earlier this month, the report added. But as confusion reigned over government schools being used thus for a party function, the BJP distanced itself from the events. UP BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan said, “We only sent a circular to local party units to hold swachhta programmes across UP. We said nothing on Modiji’s birthday celebrations; neither do we know anything about them.”
Earlier, on Saturday, ahead of Modi’s birthday, party workers held celebrations in 129 of 150 primary school in Varanasi. In Lucknow, the celebrations will be held on Monday. Cakes will not be cut, a party leader said, as “it is not part of Bharatiya Sanskriti”.
At least one BJP MLA, Avinash Trivedi of Bakshi Ka Talab in Lucknow, cut a 5-kg cake. He held the celebrations at a government primary school in Itaunja in his Assembly segment, apart from a cleanliness drive. Later, sweets were distributed. On Sunday, the BJP plans to distribute fruits and biscuits at government hospitals. In Varanasi, celebrations will be held in 70 government hospitals and orphanages; city roundabouts will be decorated, with 67 diyas at each chowk.
For the school celebrations on Saturday, party workers had been instructed to bring along a photograph of Modi, and to highlight the PM’s welfare measures. “We used paraphernalia left over from previous elections. I sent the portrait of Modiji from my house to be used for the birthday event at the Middle and Primary Balika Vidyalayas, in Chowk, Ramnagar,” said Asha Gupta, a former Ramnagar councillor.
Around 7.20 am, Acharya drove in along with partymen and asked students to name the prime minister of “Bharat Varsh”. The students were promised free pens and copies, and chairs to sit on. “There is no shame in being poor,” Acharya said. “Lal Bahadur Shastri was poor, but his parents got him educated. So did Modiji’s and mine.” He raised slogans of Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Vande Mataram, and Narendra Modi Zindabad, and the children followed him. Principal Om Prakash asked three students, Shiv Prakash, Rishabh Gaur and Waris Khan, to lead their “school-wallah naara (cheer)”. The students shouted, “The food we eat, the clothes we don, the water we drink of, that belongs to my lovely country/ Bharat Mata ki jai.”