Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is set to address the sold-out "Howdy, Modi!" event in Houston, Texas along with US President Donald Trump on Sunday, is a "local rockstar", one of the organisers told NDTV on Wednesday, describing the huge arrangements and excitement among the Indian American community. "It is unprecedented. 50,000 have registered already. This doesn't happen. There is a long wait-list," said Preeti Dawra, spokesperson of the Texas-India forum.
The three-hour "Howdy, Modi!" has been organized at NRG Stadium in Houston, one of the largest in Texas and with an impressive history of shows that starred Beyonce, Metallica and U2.
The Sunday event features, apart from PM Modi and Trump, US lawmakers, prominent Indian Americans and 400 artistes who will present a cultural show.
Banners have appeared in Houston welcoming PM Modi. The passes invite people to "come and celebrate the success of the Indian American community".
It all started when the Indian American community in Texas learnt that PM Modi would travel to the US in September for the UN General Assembly and he was considering visiting one of the three cities - Houston, Chicago or Boston. The highly organized community in Houston lobbied hard, said Ms Dawra, pointing to the fact that the city was the world's space capital and home to NASA, the energy capital with its oil and gas industry and had the largest medical centre.
Some 100 organisations, both political and in charity, wrote to the PM. "I think he was persuaded," Ms Dawra grinned, adding, "PM here is a local rock-star, or a national rock-star".
She said Trump's participation shows that he is highlighting his goodwill and friendship towards the Indian PM, the people of India and the Indian American diaspora.
The community was "extremely proud" to have PM Modi over, she said. "He has done a tremendous job in India, for which he has been re-elected. I don't think there has in recent history been any PM that has within a five-year term made such transformative changes from the ground up...This PM has really shown us that he means what he says."
She said people from all streams of life had registered to attend the event. "There are US senators, Congressmen, bipartisan...There will be a world class entertainment programme that shows how the Indian American community is woven into the American life while staying connected to India. So a grand celebration that is planned in the middle of a very strong political alliance coming together ...leaders of the two largest and the oldest democracies sharing the same platform," said Ms Dawra.
To a question on the government's decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, which Pakistan has tried to internationalise, Ms Dawra said: "All I can say is that this event is far bigger than that. There are Kashmiris who will be participating in a huge way to welcome the PM. There are lots of Kashmiris here really looking forward to meeting him and hearing what he has to say about it."
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