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Houston gears up to welcome PM Modi in 3-hour show

Houston (Texas):  Preparations are in full swing for Sunday’s mega ‘Howdy Modi’ event at the massive NRG stadium here that will see 50,000 enthusiastic Indian diaspora members greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he takes the stage, with US President Donald Trump joining him in a rare gesture.

The event at the NRG Football Stadium, one of the largest in the US, has been organized by the Texas India Forum (TIF), a non-profit organization.

The Indian American community has been busy preparing for the three-hour show that will see artistes present Indian classical and folk songs and dances, among other numbers.

More than a 1,000 Gujaratis from Houston are preparing for a mega ‘dandiya’, a traditional Gujarati dance, to welcome the Prime Minister for the event.

TIF spokesperson Gitesh Desai said that Indian Americans from across the US would be attending the “historical event”.

“Some 50,0000 attendees from Indian American communities, and people from the 48 states are attending. It is going to be a historical event, the largest such event held for a democratically elected head of state. No such programme has been held earlier in the past. Senators, Congressmen, mayors and the US President Donald Trump are going to attend,” said Desai.

Several cultural programmes are on the anvil for the show, which has a theme “Woven”, signifying how the Indian American community has become part of America, he said.

He said more than 100 buses are being provided to ferry the participants.

Massive billboards have come up near the NRG Stadium and across Houston with messages of welcome for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A car rally was also organised in Houston on Friday, ahead of the ‘Howdy-Modi’ event.

Ahead of PM Modi’s arrival on Saturday, the heavy rains in Houston, brought about by Tropical Depression Imelda, have abated. The rains had caused massive flooding across Houston and there were fears it might take off the sheen from the event. Imelda left four people dead.

Texas accounts for 10 per cent of India-US trade, about $7 billion worth of US goods and commodities are moved between Texas and India.