Since PM Modi came to power in 2014, his birthdays have been celebrated in unique fashions by his supporters, who have screened films made on his life, held vaccination drives and launched a mobile app to communicate with him.
However, the Prime Minister will be introducing eight cheetahs brought from Namibia to the wilds of Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The big cats will be kept in quarantine for a month before they are released permanently in the national park. More cheetahs are slated to be brought to India in future.
PM Modi was born in 1950, two years before cheetahs from India became extinct. “The reintroduction of cheetah in India is a step towards correcting an ecological wrong,” Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav wrote on Twitter.
The move to bring Namibian cheetahs to India has been named Project Cheetah. However, as per several wildlife biologists, it will be challenging for the cheetahs to get used to Indian conditions, primarily because of a lack of suitable habitat in size. They will also be at risk of extinction by other predators in central Indian jungles, such as feral dogs.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrated PM Modi’s birthday for three weeks, at a time when India’s economy was facing unprecedented struggles following the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move resulted in a dip in Modi’s popularity.
However, the Prime Minister’s popularity has since recovered with a recent survey suggesting 53% of Indians prefer him to continue in his current role when the Lok Sabha Elections take place in 2024.
Apart from releasing the Namibian cheetahs in central India, Modi’s 72nd birthday will also see a digital auction of gifts received by the Prime Minister, proceeds of which will be spent to clean the river Ganga.