Sarpanchs, govt teachers crowd managers for 'Namaste Trump'. Image Source: IANS News

Ahmedabad, Feb 23 : The massive crowd turnout expectations of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "Namaste Trump" event here on Monday will be in the hands of Sarpanchs and government school teachers whom Gujarat government has assigned the key responsibility.

All sarpanchs or pradhan -- elected head of the village-level local self-government body 'Gram Sabha' -- in the 33 districts of Gujarat have been asked to arrange a minimum of 50 people for the mega event featuring US President Donald Trump at the newly-built Motera cricket stadium here on Monday, said sources in the state government, requesting anonymity.

Government school teachers have also been tasked to arrange maximum number of people and have also been directed to join the event as "mandatory". Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also been asked to encourage the maximum number of people to join the event to show a welcome gesture for Trump, his family and US delegates.

For the purpose, an official said, passess have already been distributed to the sarpanchs and teachers and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) buses will ferry the people from their far-flung to the event venue on Monday.

The event is expected to witness gathering of 1.50 lakh people in the Motera stadium -- which the government claims as the largest cricket stadium ever built in the world with a seating capacity of 1.35 lakh common people, 10,000 for VIPs and around 3,500 for VVIPs.

Trump will be in the city on Monday by noon along with First Lady Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and a galaxy of top US officials to attend the "Namaste Trump" event.

As Trump has earlier said that Prime Minister Modi expects some seven million people to turn out for him between the airport and the cricket stadium, it seems the state as well as Central government wants to achieve maximum crowd gathering for the event to create history.

"The stadium I understand is sort of semi under construction, but it's going to be the largest stadium in the world, so it's going to be very exciting," Trump told reporters earlier.

In the runup to the preparation for Trump's visit, a half-kilometer (1,640-foot) brick wall has also been hastily erected, with critics saying it was built to block the view of a slum area inhabited by more than 2,000 people.

However, government officials rejected the claim saying the wall was built "for security reasons" and not to conceal the slum.

The Indian government has been trying its best for the successful event without any loophole as the maiden visit of Trump to India will provide an opportunity to improve the bilateral relationship, strengthen the strategic ties and deepen commitment to an open Indo-Pacific.

As for trade, Trump has played down expectations for any major breakthroughs next week, saying: "I'm really saving the big deal for later on. I don't know if it will be done before the election, but we'll have a very big deal with India." (Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.@ians.in)

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