50,000 strong crowd to cheer PM Modi at ‘Howdy,Modi!’ in Houston
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the Indian diaspora in Houston city on Sunday as part of the much awaited mega event --‘Howdy, Modi!’. The initiative is the first big attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to interact with the prosperous diaspora in the United States, which is home to four million Indian-Americans. US President Donald Trump has also confirmed participation for ‘Howdy, Modi!’ on September 22.
Close to 50,000 people are likely to attend ‘Howdy, Modi!’ at Houston’s NRG stadium that was sold out with days to go for the event. According to news reports, around 60 lawmakers, Senators and Congressmen are expected to attend the event, including John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamurthy, Brad Sherman, and Governor Eliot Engel of New York. Democratic Senator Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who is scheduled to speak at the event, Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green are a few other American leaders who are expected to be part of the community extravaganza.
‘Howdy, Modi!’ will begin with cultural performances followed by the screening of a film on the experiences of the Indian diaspora in Houston city. The 90-minute cultural programme will be broadcast live in Hindi, English and Spanish to over two billion people all across the world.
A spokesperson for the Texas India Forum (TIF), the organizers of the event said, “The audience will be the largest gathering ever for an elected foreign leader visiting the US, other than the Pope. It will be a history-making audience of over 50,000 Indian Americans and we are very proud of the numbers. It is a celebration of the culture of the unity of America and India.”
Earlier this week, US presidential nominee Tulsi Gabbard had excused herself from the event due to prior commitments related to her presidential campaigns in Iowa. Gabbard released a video and welcomed PM Modi in Hindi with a ‘namaste’ and apologized since she would not be able to make it to the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event. She had, however, attended both his previous diaspora outreach events in New York and San Jose.
‘Howdy, Modi!’ is being managed by more than 1,000 volunteers and 650 Welcome Partner organizations.
This will be PM Modi’s third major address to the Indian-American community after he became the prime minister in 2014 and the first after his re-election in May 2019. The previous two were at the Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014 and the Silicon Valley in 2016. Both the events were attended by more than 20,000 people.
The prime minister is on a seven-day visit to the United States to enhance bilateral ties between two of the world’s oldest democracies--India and the US. PM Modi will also address the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 27.