‘Howdy Trump" show in India to be held in world’s largest cricket stadium!

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, February 12: Donald Trump’s first state visit to India as United States President will start on February 24 at Maahatma Gandhi’s famous Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

In the evening, Trump and Prime Minister Modi will go to the new Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Motera on Ahmedabad’s outskirts to hold the "Kem chho Trump" (Gujarati for Howdy Trump) event at the stadium with 1,25,000 people witnessing the special programme aimed at showcasing the Modi-Trump bonhomie.

Trump will be accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump. According to senior officials in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar, the Trumps will fly directly to Ahmedabad, where Modi will receive them at the airport.They will then visit the Sabarmati Ashram, where the Prime Minister will take the President and the First Lady around the sprawling Ashram. At Hriday Kunj, Gandhiji’s house in the Ashram, they will operate a spinning wheel (charkha).

During their visit to the Ashram, Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn, "Vaishnav Jan to" will be played in the background music.

From the Ashram, the Prime Minister will accompany the President and the First Lady to the main event at the stadium in the evening. The event includes a series of cultural pieces curated by high-profile agencies and artistes.

People in the know say that the event will be on the lines of the "Howdy Modi!" public reception accorded to Modi in Houston during his visit to the U.S. last September. Trump participated in the event attended by around 50,000 people, mostly Indian-Americans.

Preparations have been under way in Ahmedabad for the last two weeks with different agencies assigned tasks, including decorating the areas near the Sabarmati Ashram and the cricket stadium, sprucing up roads. The Home Department is making elaborate security arrangements for the VIP event.

As per the instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Gujarat government has directed its departments and agencies to ensure that a crowd of 1,25,000 is organised for the event. The stadium’s seating capacity is 1,10,000. Fifteen thousand people will be seated on the ground in front of the stage.

"People from across the country, including top business executives, will be attending the event," a senior official overseeing the preparations said.

The Trumpts will fly to New Delhi from Ahmedabad for official business on February 25.

In the last one week, teams from U.S. Embassy and different agencies of the Central government, including the Ministry of External Affairs, have visited Ahmedabad to oversee preparations.

Since Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, Ahmedabad has emerged as the preferred venue to host foreign dignitaries, including President Xi Jinping of China, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

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