Modi's promise to Trump: 5-7 mn people will welcome him

Narendra Modi's promise to Donald Trump: 5-7 mn people will welcome him

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AFP Photo)

United States President Donald Trump expects nearly five to seven million people to line up along the road to welcome him and his wife, Melania Trump, in Ahmedabad, when they arrive in the city to commence their visit to India in the last week of February.

A “Kem Cho! Trump” rally will be held at a newly-built stadium in Motera in Ahmedabad in honour of the visiting American President, who was earlier this month acquitted by the US Senate in an impeachment trial. The rally will give Trump an opportunity to reach out to Indian-Americans—not only the ones likely to be in attendance but also the ones watching it across the US—just eight months before he is about to seek re-election to the White House.

Trump will visit Ahmedabad and New Delhi on February 24 and 25 during his maiden visit to India after taking over as US President in January 2017. He will be accompanied by his wife. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will welcome them in Ahmedabad on February 24. The two leaders will hold a formal meeting in New Delhi on February 25.

Soon after arriving at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, Trump and his wife are likely to travel to the newly-built cricket stadium in Motera across the Sabarmati River. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to accompany them.

Trump said Modi reportedly told Trump that “millions and millions” of people would welcome the President and the First Lady of the US when they arrive in Ahmedabad.

"I am (going to India). He (Modi) said we will have millions and millions of people. He thinks we will have 5-7 million people just from the airport to the new stadium," US President told journalists at the White House early on Thursday.

The 2011 census pegged the population of Ahmedabad at 5.7 million. Even as sceptics raised doubts about the 'millions', sources in New Delhi told DH that state government, as well as the ruling BJP, are likely to bring in people, not only from across Gujarat but also from other states. The 'Overseas Friends of BJP' in the US is also likely to mobilise a large number of Indian-Americans, who will join the local people to accord a grand welcome to US President, his wife and of course the prime minister, who himself hails from Gujarat.

"He (Modi) is a friend of mine. He's a great gentleman," Trump told journalists in Washington D.C.

"India will accord a memorable welcome to our esteemed guests (Trump and his wife),” the prime minister posted on Twitter late on Tuesday. "This visit (by US President to India) is a very special one and it will go a long way in further cementing India-USA friendship."

The newly-built Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel Cricket Stadium at Motera is about 7.7 kilometres away from the airport in Ahmedabad. It is going to be the largest cricket stadium in the world. The “Kem Cho! Trump” rally planned at the stadium will be much like the “Howdy! Modi” event, which was held at NRG Stadium in Houston in the US on September 22 last year with Trump and Modi appearing before a cheering crowd of nearly 50,000 Indian-Americans.

"When we have 50,000 people, I'm not going to feel so good. We'll have five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium," US President said, joking about the large crowd he and Modi addressed the “Howdy! Modi” event and even the larger one, which would gather for the “Kem Cho! Trump” rally. "And you know it is the largest stadium in the world. (They are) building it now. It's almost complete..." Trump said at the Oval Office in the White House.

"India and the USA share a common commitment to democracy and pluralism. Our nations are cooperating extensively on a wide range of issues. Robust friendship between our nations augurs well not only for our citizens but also for the entire world," the prime minister tweeted.

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