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Trump's India visit: No clarity yet on Ahmedabad roadshow

On track: A man walking past a large poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump, near the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

On track: A man walking past a large poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump, near the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

The lack of clarity on the roadshow’s distance and route stems from uncertainty about whether President Trump will visit Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram during his brief trip to Ahmedabad.

Amid claims about ‘millions’ of people turning out during U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s roadshow in Ahmedabad on Monday, there is no clarity as yet on whether the roadshow is going to be 22 km long, as the authorities had claimed earlier, or just 6 km as per a schedule shared by the White House that shows Mr. Trump going directly to the stadium from the airport.

The lack of clarity on the roadshow’s distance and route stems from uncertainty about whether President Trump will visit Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram during his brief trip to Ahmedabad.

‘Sabarmati ashram’

Indian authorities maintain that the U.S. President would visit the Gandhi Ashram before heading to the Motera stadium to attend the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

Accordingly, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has designed the route for the roadshow from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram and then on to the Motera stadium, a 22 km route.

Also read | Trump event should not become an extension of U.S. Presidential campaign: Congress | ‘Namaste Trump’ won’t mark inauguration of Motera stadium: GCA | White House to take call on Trump’s Sabarmati Ashram visit: Gujarat CM | Daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared to accompany Trump | DRDO anti-drone system to be deployed for Trump-Modi roadshow

However, the tentative schedule shared by the White House about the President’s brief visit to Ahmedabad does not include a visit to the Ashram, leaving just one engagement for Mr. Trump at the stadium.

“PMO and MEA are still trying to include a brief halt at Sabarmati Ashram but U.S. officials and agencies involved in preparations for the President’s visit are adamant on skipping it,” a key official involved in the preparations in Gujarat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu.

Now, without Sabarmati Ashram, the distance from the airport to the stadium is about 6-7 km, which means the roadshow will be significantly shorter than the 22 km route envisaged earlier. And over a 6 km-long route, it is difficult to fit in even one lakh people.

Watch | U.S. Presidents who have visited India before Trump

On Friday, Gujarat’s Chief Minister told media persons that the White House would decide about President Trump’s visit to Sabarmati Ashram.

Officials at Ahmedabad’s civic body, the organiser of the roadshow, are struggling for clarity on the distance and route with just over a day to go for the event even as President Trump and Gujarat’s Chief Minister have publicly claimed that ‘millions’ will show up when the convoy of the President and PM passes by.

On Saturday, in a 55-second promotional video posted on Twitter, Chief Minister Rupani claimed that “millions” will witness a monumental roadshow.

Earlier, the U.S. President had said that Mr. Modi told him that 10 million people would show up in Ahmedabad.

“They say anywhere from six to 10 million people are going to be showing up along the route to one of the largest stadiums in the world, the largest cricket stadium in the world, which is brand new and beautiful,” the Mr. Trump had tweeted.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:05:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-clarity-yet-on-trumps-roadshow/article30891011.ece

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