Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing more than 18,500 Indian-Americans on his visit to the Silicon Valley on Sunday but during his three nights of stay in New York, he is believed to have met at least a few hundreds of them, if the steady stream of visitors waiting in the hotel lobby and pictures posted on the social media is any indication.
In fact, he would have met at least a hundred people and posed for pictures on the first night after his arrival from New Delhi and a short stopover in Dublin, Ireland.
As hundreds waited outside the hotel raising slogans amid beating of drums, Modi came out of his secret service-driven black SUV to meet his supporters.
Once inside the Waldorf Astoria, a few dozen eminent Indian-Americans were waiting for him inside the lobby. As he personally recognised them, he called them to his meeting room and met the group in three batches.
One of them was with those who were involved in organising a successful reception for him last September at the Madison Square Garden, which was attended by a record 20,000 people.
Modi, who before becoming Gujarat chief minister had extensively travelled across the US, appears to know many of them personally and enquired about their family members, even joking with them occasionally.
He also met another group of Indian Americans the same night to take inputs from them on various policy issues related to Indo-US relationship. One of the community leaders said, on condition of anonymity, that this was about defence.
On Wednesday night he also met Aseem Chhabra of the Hindu American Foundation, who presented Modi with a welcome letter signed by over 200 leading academics in engineering, liberal arts, and the sciences. “Kem chho Aseembhai?” asked the Prime Minister in Gujarati, seeking his well-being.
In all these meetings, Modi posed for photographs with each one of them. On Thursday and Friday as well, there was a steady stream of visitors waiting for him to meet in-between his official engagements. Some time, people waited for hours to meet him, very few went disappointed.
On Thursday evening, soon after his dinner with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, which was the last official engagement of the day-long hectic events, Modi was energetic enough to meet a group of over 50 members of the Overseas Friends of BJP-USA led by its president Chandrakant Patel.