Thiruvananthapuram: The first thing Chief Minister Oommen Chandy did on Wednesday morning was to attend morning mass, celebrating his 69th birthday. An hour later, when he returned home, there was a rush of visitors waiting to greet him.

Among those who greeted the chief minister were the priest of the famous Sabarimala temple and a Christian bishop. Speaker of the Kerala assembly G Karthikeyan dropped by to greet Chandy, and then there were numerous telephone calls to attend to.

A member of the chief minister's staff, however, quipped, "This is just the normal crowd, it's not as if there's a special rush here because it's his birthday."

One of the chief minister's relatives said that nothing special had been planned for the day, and that was how it has been for several years.

On Tuesday night, Chandy was taken quite by surprise when he arrived at the Air Force base here to see President Pranab Mukherjee off. When he offered the president the customary bouquet, the president handed it right back, wishing him a happy birthday.


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