Lucknow: Twitter users were surprised at the fact that PM Narendra Modi didn't wish or extended congratulatory messages to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on his birthday on Saturday (June 5).
The "missing birthday wishes" added rumours that there are tensions in the saffron party, months ahead of a high-stakes assembly election. There have also been reports that the BJP top brass in Delhi is struggling to quell dissent against the UP chief minister.
Sources in the government were quick to dismiss PM Modi's "no greeting to Yogi" as an indication of a rift in the BJP. However, sources in the PM's Office pointed out PM Modi had, in fact, spoken to Yogi on the phone on Saturday and wished him on his birthday.
They said that the PM has not tweeted to anyone in the second wave of the COVID pandemic and also provided a list of top leaders, including those from the opposition, for whom he skipped Twitter wishes over the past few weeks. The list includes the chief ministers of Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Goa.
Last Tuesday, he tweeted high praise of Yogi Adityanath and his handling of the pandemic. On Friday, BJP source again ruled out UP chief minister's removal, but indicated that a cabinet expansion was likely.
Similarly, on May 3, there were no birthday messages posted for Jharkhand leader Arjun Munda and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. Modi also didn't greet Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar on May 5, Cabinet Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot on May 18, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on May 24, and Highway and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on May 27.
"The PM has not greeted any leader since the last week of April. It's a sad period for the nation. People have suffered. PM has greeted people on festivals but individual greetings to leaders have been stopped," a senior minister in the government clarified.