Prime Minister Narendra Modi bucked the annual ritual of tweeting birthday wishes to his ideological and political opponent Rahul Gandhi on Friday, raising many eyebrows in social media.
Modi had never missed the day for the last five years – between 2015 and 2019.
It was not clear why Modi chose to ignore the day when Rahul celebrated his 50th birthday on June 19.
For five years, Modi's tweets wishing Gandhi a long and healthy life came before what was considered the start of a day's work: 9 am. These were equally met with warmth and compassion by the Congress leader.
The tweets and replies had cut across political barriers. Followers of the rival camps had endorsed the exchanges with 'likes' and 'retweets'.
Together they had amassed a staggering 21.4k retweets and 168.7k likes on Twitter.
In 2019, after Modi came back to power for the second term, Modi's birthday tweet to Gandhi alone had garnered a whopping 98.3k likes.
Gandhi had a low-key birthday on Friday as the country was fighting Chinese incursion on one hand and COVID-19 pandemic on the other.
Congress had asked its state and district units not to organise any celebration on Gandhi's birthday.
Gandhi, in his forbearance, invoked party men to distribute food kits among the needy and in community kitchens for the poor to alleviate the pain and suffering of the people during these difficult times.
The birthday wishes apart, Modi and Gandhi have been fighting tooth and nail on public forums and social media on various issues.
Recently, Gandhi criticised Modi for not addressing the nation after China had killed 20 Indian soldiers in Ladakh.
"Why is the PM silent? Why is he hiding? Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened. How dare China kill our soldiers? How dare they take our land?" Gandhi had tweeted.
A few hours later, Modi addressed the nation and declared that Indian soldiers' sacrifice would not go in vain.
In another recent address, Gandhi had termed Centre's government's lockdown strategies a failure and asked Modi to spell out reopening strategies.