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At cricket arena 'man of match' Donald Trump strikes chord with crowd

The jam-packed arena, also known as Sardar Patel Stadium, frequently broke into applause as people displayed enthusiasm for the first visit by any US president to the home state of Modi

Press Trust of India 

Trump, Modi,
Modi, Trump, and Melania arrive for Namaste Trump event at Sardar Patel Stadium

The renovated Motera stadium here is yet to host its first cricket match but on Monday the sprawling facility became the site of a public spectacle where US President showered encomiums on India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid a rather delirious crowd.

The jam-packed arena, also known as Sardar Patel Stadium, frequently broke into applause as people displayed enthusiasm for the first visit by any US president to the home state of Modi.

Trumps praise for India, his denouncing of the menace of terrorism and his try at Hindi during his over 25-minute- long speech was well received by people and punctuated by constant clapping by the nearly 1.25 lakh-strong crowd.

Donald trump, Melania Trump

Folk artistes perform as Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes US President and First Lady Melania Trump on their arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international aiport


People were pleased when Trump praised Modi, remembering his humble background as a "chaiwala" (tea seller) and his inspiring journey to the office of Prime Minister.

Though Modi and Trump's address for 'Namaste Trump' event was scheduled to start after 1.30 pm, people from across Gujarat started arriving at the world's biggest cricket stadium since 8 am.

Though placards and flags were not allowed to be taken inside the stadium located in the Motera area, people were seen wearing masks of Trump and Modi.

There was a continuous stream of people towards the stadium since the morning as parking areas for vehicles was kept some distance away from the stadium.

Trump, Modi, Melania

Trump, with first lady Melania, and PM Modi at Gandhi Ashram

For security reasons, each invitee was given a personal invitation and police conducted their background checks.

Bollywood singer Kailash Kher and local Gujarati singers entertained the audience for a couple of hours before Trump and Modi reached the stadium, which has the capacity to accommodate 1.10 lakh people.

Gujarati singers like Kirtidan Gadhvi, Geeta Rabari and Kinjal Dave also entertained the audience for over two hours.

Teachers and principals of government schools were roped in for management of the crowd, who ensured the people occupied their allotted seat.

The invited guests also included Non Resident Indians and businesspersons.

For security reasons, no one was allowed to carry any banner or flag inside the renovated arena.

Trump, Melania

Trump and Melania tour the Taj Mahal

Though the audience was enthusiastic to see and hear both the leaders, sweltering heat forced some of them to leave even before Trump ended his speech as guests were sitting in the open stadium since morning.

The stadium, owned by the Gujarat Cricket Association, has been rebuilt after demolishing the old one, which was built in 1982 and had a seating capacity of 49,000.

The entire stadium complex is spread across over 64 acres and has a club house and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The construction of the new stadium was completed in two years with an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore.

Voices

"The US and India are the two largest democracies in the world and share many values. There is much to be gained by the friendship of Modi and Trump"

Nikki Haley, Former US Ambassador to the UN

"To use President Trump’s favoured adjective, this is a huge opportunity. We all know tourism can be a major engine for spurring growth, employment, and forex"

Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group

First Published: Tue, February 25 2020. 00:32 IST
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