Wishes pour in for former PM Deve Gowda on his 87th birthday

Bengaluru, May 18 (PTI) Former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H D Deve Gowda turned 87 on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi among others greeting him on the occasion.

The JD(S) patriarch kept his birthday celebrations a low-key affair due to the coronavirus outbreak and the consequent lockdown.

Gowda had three days ago appealed to his followers not to gather to celebrate his birthday as the current situation warranted social distancing and staying at home.

The unprecedented situation also saw Gowda missing out on offering prayers at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara on his birthday, a routine he had been following for over three decades.

Modi in a tweet said: 'Birthday wishes to our former PM Shri H D Devegowda Ji. Praying for his long life and good health.' Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa too wished Gowda, praying that he constantly receives the blessings of God.

Rahul Gandhi tweeted: 'My best wishes to Shri H D Deve Gowda ji on his birthday. I pray that he be blessed with good health and happiness always.' Former chief minister and Congress legislature party Leader in the state Siddaramaiah too took to Twitter to greet Gowda.

'Best birthday wishes to Shri H D Devegowda. Wishing him good health & long life.' With temples and other religious places closed for public in view of the COVID-19 lockdown, Gowda apparently could not keep up his practice of visiting the Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh on his birthday this year.

After offering prayers at the temple on turning 86 last year, the veteran leader had said he had been visiting the ancient shrine for the last 35 years on his birthday.

Gowda had served as the 11th Prime Minister of the country from June 1, 1996 to April 21, 1997.

He was also a former chief minister of Karnataka. PTI GMS VS VS