Press Trust of india

Over a lakh turn out at cricket stadium to hear Trump, Modi

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Ahmedabad, Feb 24: Over a lakh people gathered at the newly built cricket stadium in Motera area on Monday to witness US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the gathering at the Namaste Trump event.

Though Trump’s address was scheduled to start after 1.30 pm, people from across the state started arriving at the stadium, touted as the world’s biggest, since 8 am.

There was a continuous stream of people walking towards the stadium since morning as parking areas for vehicles were away from the stadium.

While many of the attendees were transported to the venue in buses, some were from the city and were eager to see both the leaders.

Many in the stadium were seen wearing masks with images of Modi and Trump printed on them.

For security reasons, each invitee was given a personal invitation and police conducted their background checks.

Bollywood singer Kailash Kher and local Gujarati singers entertained the audience for a couple of hours before Trump and Modi reached the stadium, which has the capacity to accommodate 1.10 lakh people, the highest for any cricket stadium in the world.

Gujarati singers like Kirtidan Gadhvi, Geeta Rabari and Kinjal Dave also entertained the audience for over two hours.

The invited guests also included Non Resident Indians and businessmen. For security reasons, no one was allowed to carry any banner or flag inside the stadium.

Though the audience was enthusiastic to see and hear both the leaders, sweltering heat forced some of them to leave even before Trump ended his speech, as the guests were sitting in the open stadium since morning.

The stadium, owned by the Gujarat Cricket Association, has been rebuilt after demolishing the old one, which was built in 1982 and had a seating capacity of 49,000.

The entire stadium complex is spread across over 64 acres and has a club house and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The construction of the new stadium got completed in two years with an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore.

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