“He (Modi) said we will have millions and millions of people. My only problem is that last night we probably had 40 or 50,000 people… I’m not going to feel so good… There will be five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium (in Ahmedabad),” US President Trump told the media in the White House.
He added, “And you know (it) is the largest stadium in the world. He’s (Modi) building it now. It’s almost complete and it’s the largest in the world.”
While four to five million Amdavadis, almost the entire population of the city, are unlikely to line up the street between the airport and the stadium, Gujarat Government, reported Reuters, is hurriedly constructing a wall to hide a slum on the route.
Built at a cost of over ₹700 Crore, the Vallabhbhai Patel stadium in Ahmedabad, which is likely to be ‘inaugurated’ by Trump is indeed going to be the world’s largest cricket stadium with a capacity of 1.10 lakh people. It has been built after demolishing the earlier Motera stadium which had a capacity of holding 55 lakh people.
US Air Force One, the Presidential jet, is scheduled to land at Ahmedabad on February 24. The US President is scheduled to drive straight to Sabarmati Ashram from the airport. He would leave for New Delhi the next day for talks before flying back after the two-day visit.
The US President is also expected to address a joint rally along with the Indian Prime Minister at the stadium. The PR exercise is crucial for both as Trump tries to sell the message in an election year in the United States that he is internationally popular. The Indian Prime Minister, on the other hand, would like to flaunt his ‘friendship’ with Trump.
The ‘Kem Cho Trump’ rally in said to be a reciprocal gesture for the ‘Howdy Modi’ event attended by the US President at Houston (Texas). While the Houston jamboree, where Prime Minister Modi famously said in Punjabi that back home ‘Sab change si’ (all is well at home), Kem Cho Modi rally is designed to ensure take aways to help the US President who will seek re-election later this year at the end of his term.
While Ahmedabad is being given a facelift and roads are being repaired for the Presidential visit, 150,000 flower pots have been requisitioned for placement on roadsides.