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Gujarat gets ready to put up a gala show for Donald Trump

The bonhomie between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump is being celebrated in large hoardings that have come up along the roadside in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2020, 08.38 PM IST
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GANDHINAGAR: From raising a wall in front of a slum to caging around 50 monkeys at the airport, Ahmedabad is leaving nothing to chance for the visit of US President Donald Trump to the city on February 24.

Not only have the state and central government officials gone into an overdrive ahead of the high-profile visit, personnel from the US secret service too are pouring into the city for his security. Already, three planes from the US airforce have landed in Ahmedabad with vehicles, equipment and personnel for the presidential visit. Four more, not counting the president's aircraft, are expected to land at the Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport.

The bonhomie between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 45th US president is being celebrated in large hoardings that have come up along the roadside in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. All the roads leading to the Motera cricket stadium have been resurfaced. The largest cricket stadium in the world will be filled to the brim for the Namaste Trump event, which will be attended by both Modi and Trump

It will mirror the gala event “Howdy Modi” organised last year by the Indian fans of Narendra Modi in Houston,Texas, in which both the leaders attended.

Trump on his part has already announced to the world that he expected five to seven million people to turn up in Ahmedabad to meet him, and that has only added to the pressure on the hosts who have anyway pulled out all plugs to put up the grandest show possible.

Instructions have gone down the ranks of state and central officials to gather as much crowds as possible for the 22 kilometre roadshow and the grand event at the Motera stadium. The local MLAs and councillors will not be at the stadium, but along the roadside with people to cheer the leaders as they pass.

Trump, along with First Lady Melania Trump, will also visit Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram during their three-hour stay in Ahmedabad as had other visiting heads of state like Xi Jinping of China and Shinzo Abe of Japan.

Trump, according to sources at the Ashram, is likely to spend about 25 minutes there and will be shown around Hriday Kunj - the cottage that housed Mahatma Gandhi from 1918 to 1930 - the Upasna Mandir (prayer spot) and the Ahmedabad gallery in the Gandhi Memorial Museum. For gifting Trump, the ashram authorities have chosen Gandhiji’s autobiography, his other book My Life, My Message, a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, a spinning wheel and a note on the role of the spinning wheel in India’s struggle for Independence.

In the meanwhile, construction workers staying in small makeshift houses in the slum near the Motera stadium have been served eviction notices by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation(AMC). Most of them are clueless about where to go. AMC officials said the eviction drive was routine and was not in connection with Trump's visit.

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