AHMEDABAD — Inside the world’s largest cricket stadium, tens of thousands of people in white “Namaste Trump” hats bearing the Indian and American flags have gathered to welcome President Trump.
Popular singers entertained the crowd, which cheered and danced under the midday sun as they awaited the arrival of Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Some of those in attendance seemed more enthusiastic about the prospect of seeing Modi than his American visitor.
Abhishek Parihar, 18, a university student, heard about the event at a tutoring class and jumped at the chance to see the prime minister.
“I am very excited to see Modi,” he said. And Trump? “Yes, him also,” said Parihar. Trump is a “very nice person and he was a successful businessman. And he is the best friend of Modi.”
Shivang Chaurashia, 31, works in private equity in New York but happened to be making a trip to see his family in Ahmedabad. “I am a big fan of both of them,” he said of the two leaders. His father, Dikshit, 58, stood next to him, nodding. “This one we have to attend. It’s a big deal.”
Vinod Patel, 51, arrived with his son and niece. Patel runs a decoration business and helped adorn Trump’s route through Ahmedabad, creating 11 tableaus from the life of Mohandas Gandhi and a giant gate over the road celebrating the visit.
He completed the job in 10 days. “When work is given by Modi, there is no tiredness,” Patel said.
Others said they had come for the sheer spectacle of the event. “Just to see it,” said Ashutosh Gupta, 50, who works at a government telecom firm. He demurred when asked what he thought of Trump. “He is the president of the United States — that’s sufficient.”