120 crores public funds spent on Namaste Trump, but event organized by private entity?

Meanwhile Trump says Modi promised him a welcome by 7 million people, a figure higher than total population of Ahmedabad!

Namaste Trump

On Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar informed reporters in his weekly briefing that welcome arrangements were being made by a private group called “Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti”. This has set the cat among the pigeons because Rs 120 crores worth of public funds are being spent on the visit.

When asked about why no opposition leader was invited to the “Namaste Trump” event that is to take place in the newly constructed Motera stadium, Kumar told reporters, “Let me make it very clear that this is an event that is being organized by Donad Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti. They are the ones taking a decision on who (is) to be invited. So, this question has to be addressed to them.”

Kumar’s entire press conference may be viewed here. The mention of the private organizer is made after the 24:20 mark:



Interestingly, this organization does not have a website. SabrangIndia could not find any information or contact details of members or office bearers of the group. In fact, The Hindu reported that even the even in Gujarat, officials involved with preparations seemed unaware of the mysterious ‘Samiti’. “I don’t know about the committee. We are only concerned about the preparations and logistical support,” a top official told The Hindu.

This has led to sharp reactions from the Opposition. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala has asked, “Who is the President of Donald Trump Abhinandan Samiti? When was the invitation extended to U.S President & accepted? Why is Gujarat Govt then spending ₹120 Crore for a 3-hour event organized by an unknown Pvt entity?”

Meanwhile, activist Saket Gokhale has files a request for information about the invitation extended to Trump under the US Freedom of Information Act.


Gokhale has also filed a request for information from the MEA under the RTI Act.



But that’s not all. In the latest inexplicable ‘covfefe’, Trump excitedly told reporters that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised him that seven million people would gather to greet him on his visit to Ahmedabad. Trump said, “I happen to like PM Modi a lot. He told me we will have 7 million people between the airport and the event.”

Here’s a video that Trump Tweeted:

While no one can blame Trump or any other celebrity of being excited to be greeted by 7 million or 70 lakh people, here are a few statistical facts. The entire population of Ahmedabad is 68 lakhs. A little over 1 lakh people can line along the street as Trump’s cavalcade passes from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA) to Gandhi Ashram to the newly constructed Motera Stadium where the “Namaste Trump” event is scheduled to take place. The capacity of the Motera stadium is 1.10 lakhs.

This is Trump’s first visit to India and is expected to last 36 hours during which he is expected to visit Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi. In Ahmedabad he is expected to attend the “Namaste Trump” event jointly with Modi. The event is said to be along the lines of the “Howdy Trump” event held in Houston last year. Not much is known about what Trump is expected to do in Agra apart from visiting the Taj Mahal. But it does appear to cement Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s place in Modi’s inner circle as his state is the only other one picked for the visit.




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