Karnataka Chief Minister and veteran BJP leader B.S Yediyurappa turned 78 on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of leaders greeting him.
Modi hailed Yediyurappa as a 'hardworking' chief minister and wished him long life and good health, while several state leaders flocked to his residence and greeted the Lingayat strongman.
Yediyurappa, on the eve of his birthday on Wednesday, had said whatever he has achieved is a result of the people's "blessings and faith" and requested well-wishers not to bring bouquets, flowers, shawls, sweets, turbans or any souvenirs to greet him.
The birthday function organised by "Yediyurappa Abhinandana Samiti" (Yediyurappa Felicitation Committee) is being seen in some quarters as an attempt by Yediyurappa and his loyalists to send a message to the party leadership that he was still "strong".
The BJP's current dispensation under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has retired several senior party leaders who crossed the age of 75. However, an exception was said to have been made in Yediyurappa's case after the BJP won 25 of 28 seats in the Lok Sabha election under his leadership.
In the 2018 elections, he spearheaded the campaign of the BJP which emerged as the single largest party but fell short of the majority mark following which Congress and JD(S) came to power stitching a post-poll pact.
(with news agency inputs)