Rahul greets Modi on 70th birthday, annual digital ritual electrifies Twitterati

Rahul greets Modi on 70th birthday, annual digital ritual electrifies Twitterati
Congress president Rahul Gandhi with prime minister Narendra Modi. Photo: PTI

Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi shed their differences and engage in a digital embrace on two occasions every year – on their birthdays.

On Thursday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated his 70th birthday, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter, earlier than most, to wish his political opponent birthday greetings.

“Wishing PM Narendra Modi ji a happy birthday,” Gandhi wrote.

The message is a short one, but it came at a time when Gandhi is accompanying his mother Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi during her trip to the US for a routine medical check-up.

This thoughtfulness was appreciated on Twitter- by people from all political backgrounds. In a span of just hours, it amassed a whopping 88K+ likes and 10K retweets.

It's a far cry from Gandhi's 2015 birthday wish to Modi which only managed a little over 900 likes and 1000 retweets.

Since 2015, Gandhi had been consistent with his greetings to Modi, though the messages are not as heartening as the ones he crafts for former PM Manmohan Singh.

Gandhi's wishes have also extended to other fellow politicians including HD Deve Gowda, Amarinder Singh, MK Stalin, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and even MS Dhoni.

The same could not be told for Narendra Modi. For the first time since 2015, Modi bucked his annual ritual of wishing Gandhi on his birthday on June 19 this year.

While it is not clear why Modi chose to ignore the day when Gandhi celebrated his 50th birthday, there is talk that the criticism the latter aired then in wake of India's border skirmish with the Chinese in Ladakh and Centre government's failed lockdown strategies had something to do with it.

In Modi's defence, for five years in a row, between 2015 and 2019, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been diligent in ensuring that he found time to greet Gandhi, his primary political opponent, on his birthday.

In 2019 alone, the number of likes to Modi's birthday tweet to Gandhi was an astonishing 98k. It was the year Modi saw a triumphant return to power at the Centre. Rahul's Congress was then reduced to a fraction of its older strength, but the BJP stalwart sought out his young opponent to greet him before 9 am on June 19.

If Twitter statistics are anything to go by, Rahul Gandhi's consistent generosity is well on its way to beat Modi's 2019 magnanimity.

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