'Coming from America': Gujarat braces itself for Trumps visit

Of one thing you can be certain. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that the Presidential Trumps, Donald and Melania, are going to receive the kind of welcome they will never forget, that is precisely what they will get.

Everything is going to be OTT, lavish, effusive, luxurious, opulent, sumptuous, extravagant, bountiful, befitting the Leader of the Free World and his wife.

Luckily, this is just the way Mr Trump likes it. Plenty of gold fittings, marble, glitter and mirrors, approval, applause and adoration (if he can get it). The Presidential Suite in the ITC Maurya in Delhi, which is receiving finishing touches for the Visit, should meet with his approval.

After all, it is more than 4,000 square feet, has a dining room done up in a peacock theme and its own private gym, just about enough for a couple on a two-day visit.

Of course, we already know that the 45th President of the United States views exercise with almost the same reported lack of enthusiasm as he views eating healthy, unless you call strolling around a golf course, with an army of flunkies in attendance, exercise.

Yes, I have no doubt that the Trumps will enjoy their stay in India, in the lap of luxury and in the company of his dear friend, the Indian Prime Minister. The memory of their last meeting to jointly address a rally of American Indians in Houston, the hand-holding, the bonhomie, the wide smiles, is still vivid.

After all, POTUS himself (and also FLOTUS) have gone on record to say how excited they are about this visit to India. Nor is there much doubt that there will be the signing of some trade agreements, to round off the $142.1 billion in bilateral trade that already exists.

All in all, it is exciting. The only thing that worries me is POTUS’s expectation of the crowds that will turn up to wave at him and listen to him. See, he has already told reporters that he expects somewhere in the region of 5 million to 7 million people.

What I am concerned about is whether he expects so many in the newly-built $100 million Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, where the two friends will jointly address a crowd.

Like they did in Houston. Or is he referring to the crowds that should be lining the street from the airport to the Stadium. Mr. Trump gives one the impression of listening only to every third word addressed to him, so the question is – did Mr. Modi clearly tell him what is what?

That the Stadium can at best hold only 100,000 people, but the streets can fulfil his dreams. The current population of Ahmedabad is around 8.6 million, but Mr Modi’s popularity being what it is, there should be no problem mobilising almost every citizen in the interest of making the American President feel welcome.

This is important, not least because we know how obsessive Mr Trump can be about numbers. With nine months left to go for the elections (and very likely a second term for him), there is plenty of evidence to show that the 45th President of the United States still hasn’t got over the numbers of people who turned up for his Inauguration.

In the face of solid evidence to the contrary, he will still tell anyone willing to listen, that the numbers for his Inauguration were far greater than President Barack Obama’s and if it weren’t for the “fake media”, this would have been decided by now.

His expectations are more than a little unfair, in my opinion. After all, there were only around 50,000 American Indians to say Howdy Modi in Houston.

And he wants ten times that number for his visit. But if Mr Modi did promise him this (and even that IS not clear), he had better see about delivering the adoring crowds.

This is a man with a temper and tantrums to match. Imagine the tweets if things don’t turn out as he wants them to.

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