Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar today took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Ahmedabad being made the focal point of US President Donald Trump's visit to India next week, pointing out that he is only the latest in a list of foreign dignitaries to be taken to the Gujarat city over the last five years.
Ahmedabad is the largest city in the Prime Minister's home state.
"Over the last five years, after Modiji became the Prime Minister of India, foreign dignitaries who came visiting India were all taken to Ahmedabad. This is unlike earlier, when they visited Agra, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore. It's a good thing. If the Prime Minister feels that Ahmedabad is the best place to showcase, we should only be happy for it," Sharad Pawar said in response to a question on the upcoming visit.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were among the visiting foreign leaders taken to Ahmedabad by PM Modi since 2014.
Sharad Pawar also made a well-aimed jibe at a wall reportedly being constructed in Ahmedabad to hide slums from Donald Trump's view during his visit. "I don't understand this question. President Trump is visiting, and he will see the slums. How can this be allowed? So you have to build a wall to hide it. Then you have to colour it. Then take some photos there. You have to arrange things on it too, or what will people say about Ahmedabad, Gujarat and Narendra Modi? How can you ask such a question?" he remarked, evoking laughter from reporters.
A 500-metre-long and four-foot-tall wall is being built in Ahmedabad's Sardarnagar, which has several slums. Donald Trump's motorcade is expected to pass through a road running alongside that leads to the Indira bridge on the outskirts of the city from the airport.
The US President and his wife, Melania Trump, will be in India for a two-day visit starting February 24. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, Donald Trump will attend an event at Ahmedabad's Motera Stadium on the lines of the 'Howdy Modi' function addressed by both leaders in Houston last September.