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Photo: AFP

Ignoring the reservations of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in the ruling alliance, celebrated the 62nd birthday of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi here Monday, also projecting him as prime minister-in-waiting.

Modi's birthday was celebrated for the first time at the state BJP headquarters here, and hundreds of party leaders including legislators and MPs and workers joined the event. Sweets and cakes were distributed.

A big cake was cut by senior BJP leader and Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh, who told newspersons that he was celebrating the birthday of a man who was "the builder of the nation". He added that people wanted to see Modi as prime minister.

Hundreds of large hoardings of Modi have been put up across the state, particularly in Patna, by BJP leaders keen to project Modi as future prime minister.

Singh downplayed Nitish Kumar's reservations to Modi, saying there was no difference between the two leaders and that both chief ministers were "vikash purush" (men of development).

A few months ago, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar targeted Narendra Modi, saying the NDA should announce a secular prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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