New Delhi/Ahmedabad: A captive audience of 50,000 in a Red state. There were many reasons behind Donald Trump’s presence at the 'Howdy, Modi' event in Texas, but this certainly was the most crucial one. So much so that a desire has been expressed for a redux during the American president’s visit to India, with the event being referred to, for now, as ‘Kem Cho, Trump’ or ‘How Are You, Trump’ in Gujarati.
The event’s tentative name pretty much gives away the proposed venue – Ahmedabad in Gujarat.News18, however, has learnt from sources that the Americans want the event to be held in the Delhi-NCR region as the US President is not said to be too keen to travel beyond Delhi. Sources suggest that this could be because of time constraints.
But Delhi-NCR doesn’t seem to be a viable option for the Indian side. A dedicated crowd matching the Houston numbers would be easier to arrange and manage in Ahmedabad. The ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act are also a factor when zeroing in on the host city.
Trump’s team has also been sounded off that his desire to address a crowd that could have a bearing on his re-election prospects later this year could be met with better in Gujarat, a state that sends a sizeable chunk to America.Sources told News18 that arrangements would also be made to fly down some Indian-Americans from the US for the event.
However, the specific venue under consideration right now, the Motera stadium, is still undergoing big-scale renovation to eventually have a seating capacity of 1,10,000 people. The work is expected to wrap up soon. However, keeping security considerations for a US President in mind, it will be a race against time. The venue for the town hall event, hence, is yet to get clearance, according to sources.
It is for this reason now that dates after February for this crucially awaited visit are also not being ruled out. So far, the possible dates being looked at were February 24-26.
In the past, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu have been hosted in Ahmedabad.
News18 has also been told that only the First Lady, Melania Trump, is expected to be travelling to Agra to see the symbol of love, the Taj Mahal. President Trump will be engaged in official commitments.