Mumbai, Dec 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray greeted Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar who steps into the 80th year of his life on Thursday.
“Greetings to Sharad Pawarji on his birthday. Praying for his long and healthy life,” said Modi in a tweet.
In a message, Thackeray wished a long healthy life to Pawar whom he described as “the guiding light of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government” in the state, which comprises the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance.
Top Congress leaders like state President and Minister Balasaheb Thorat, former CMs Ashok Chavan, ex-Mumbai party President Sanjay Nirupam and others also greeted Pawar warmly and wished him a long and healthy life, besides seeking his continued guidance.
The NCP organised a mega-celebration function in Mumbai which was dedicated to the cause of farmers’ welfare, education and other initiatives to mark Pawar’s birthday.
Many leaders including Praful Patel, Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse-Patil, Sunil Tatkare and others paid tributes to Pawar’s leadership, his statesman-like qualities, popularity and respect transcending political or state boundaries, vision and respect among the masses.
The celebrations started outside the YB Chavan Centre with a ‘Lezim’ dance, beating of drums, dancing and showering flowers and gulal as thousands turned up to greet the leader who completed 79 years, including 55 years-plus in public life.
Starting his political career with the Congress, over the years, he achieved the distinction of rising up the political ranks to become the state’s youngest CM in 1978, then holding the post twice again in 1988 and 1993.
Later he, shifted the arena to national politics with senior ministerial responsibilities in the governments of the late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.