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India’s Modi Gets a Three-Week Birthday Bash as Popularity Dips

  • Economy stuttering, unemployment high after brutal Covid wave
  • Modi’s popularity lowest since he came to power in 2014
Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg

India’s Narendra Modi is having a difficult year. The economy is struggling after a brutal second wave of Covid-19, his popularity has dipped and a crucial state election looms. Now his ruling party has planned a mega birthday bash for him in “service of the nation.”

Starting Friday, when the prime minister turns 71, some 50 million postcards will be mailed to him from citizens saying “thank you” for his concern for India’s poor, Om Prakash Dhurve, a secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said. There will be film screenings and exhibitions on his life, blood donation camps, cleanliness and vaccination drives, as part of the celebration billed as the “Service and Dedication Campaign” by the party’s youth wing.