Kohima: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned 71, celebrations in Nagaland began with a mass cleanliness drive in Kohima on Friday morning led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio as part of the Swachh Bharat initiative.

CM Rio along with deputy CM Y Patton, state BJP president Temjen Imna Along and other legislators and party workers from the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) –NDPP and BJP cleaned the streets of Kohima.

“We are very proud that a dynamic leader is our prime minister who is taking our country forward. We have to do little social work to show respect and give our support to our honourable PM on his 71st birthday,” Rio said.

The chief minister, who shared that he will be turning 71 in November, acknowledged the premier of considering him a friend, as a former colleague. Rio said the people of Nagaland will always remember his kindness to the Naga people. He also expressed hope to continue ties with the BJP even in the days to come.

Deputy CM Y Patton, while extending birthday greetings, lauded PM Modi for being “a visionary and capable leader”. The leader of the BJP legislature party also prayed for good health and long life upon the premier to lead the country.

Later in the evening, the BJP party, along with Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, celebrated the premier’s birthday at the state BJP office with a cake cutting ceremony.

During the celebration, MoS Chandrasekhar lauded PM Modi for bridging the gap between the people and the government. He said that Modi has raised the bar for public life and public services, doing away with the “Aaram” culture and introducing healthy work ethics. The BJP leader also praised the party for being the “fairest, most open organization in the word”.  

State BJP president Temjen Imna Along said that the Swachh Bharat Mission, which has turned to a movement across the country, is the weapon of the party. 

Taking the opportunity, he informed the union minister that the PDA government has been doing “quite well” under the leadership of the PM and the chief minister.

Citing that people from the state and the Himalayan region are inaccessible to certain benefits of the Centre’s policy due to certain challenges, the state BJP president also urged the union minister to consider the Himalayan states while framing policies.

As the party marked the occasion, Mmhonlumo Kikon, national BJP spokesperson, lauded the party for being “a party with a difference” where the leaders are intricately connected with the party workers.

Saying that the people have accepted the party as a party for development, he pointed out how development of national highway projects in Nagaland, which was stalled for about a decade under the Congress regime, has witnessed progress in the state as the BJP came to power.

He also praised the state BJP president for being the “most efficient” president of the party in the state.

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