New Delhi: In a development that could end their frosty ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday greeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on his birthday to wish him “long life and good health”.
Ahead of his departure to the United Arab Emirates, Modi said he had telephoned Kejriwal and wished him on his 47th birthday.
“Spoke to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and wished him on his birthday. My prayers for his long life and good health,” Modi said in a brief tweet.
Kejriwal thanked Modi for his wishes, saying he was “touched”.
“Thank you so much Sir for your wishes. I am touched. I look forward to meeting you soon to brief you on Delhi’s situation,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said.
This is the first known direct communication between Modi and Kejriwal since the latter called on the prime minister after the AAP routed the BJP in the February Delhi assembly election.
The result left the Bharatiya Janata Party with just three of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly. The AAP won 67 seats.
Modi’s gesture came a day after Kejriwal said in his Independence Day address here that there must be a “working arrangement” between the prime minister and the Delhi chief minister.
“As both the chief minister of Delhi and the prime minister of the country live in the national capital, there should be a working arrangement between them for the welfare of the city and (its) people.”
Kejriwal also said in the speech that he had tried to meet Modi to discuss Delhi’s problems but he could not get an appointment. He promised to try and meet Modi again.
The Delhi government has been locked in a conflict with Delhi’s Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung – an appointee of the central government – over the city government’s powers.
Kejriwal has in recent times publicly blamed Modi for Jung’s involvement in subjects which the Delhi government says lie outside the Lt. Governor’s domain.
Modi’s tweet to Kejriwal and his reply were re-tweeted by several AAP leaders on Twitter.