Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Houston, Texas in the United States is set to get yet another massive reception from the Indian diaspora, in an event aptly named ‘Howdy, Modi’. ‘Howdy’ is a colloquial expression of ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’ The number of registered attendees of the event is- 50,000, which is the largest gathering for any political leader. According to a report by The Hindu, among many other lawmakers in the United States, one of these attendees could be President Donald Trump himself. This has come after reports that over 60 prominent lawmakers in the United States including Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, shall attend the massive event in Texas.
The Indian American community has been very enthusiastic to hear from beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from 50,000 people who have already registered, another 8,000 people are on the waiting list. The only celebrity to receive a larger gathering was Roman Catholic religious leader Pope Francis. “This will be the largest gathering for an invited foreign leader visiting the United States other than the Pope,” said Jugal Malini, a member of the Texas India Forum (TIF), which is the main organiser of the event.
President Trump will be seeking reelection in 2020, and it would be highly beneficial for his electoral campaign if he attends the event. The Houston event is the largest gathering of Indian American community who constitute only above 1 percent population of the United States. The Indian American community is among the richest and the most successful communities in the United States. Indian Americans are a growing political force in the United States, donating to the campaigns of both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. A report by Los Angeles Times says that Indian Americans have already contributed more than $3 million to 2020 presidential campaigns — which is more than the zealously democratic Hollywood’s contribution. Therefore, by making an appearance at ‘Howdy, Modi’ in Houston, Texas, Trump could target not only votes, but huge donations to his political campaign from the Indian American community.
Previously Narendra Modi delivered a rocking speech at the Madison Square Garden, New York, in September 2014, which was attended by more than 20,000 people. A year later, he visited Silicon Valley in California, and got a Rockstar like reception with a turnout of above 20,000.
Narendra Modi shall be visiting the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York (September 20-23). His address at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event, from the world’s energy capital in Texas shall come at a time when energy security and innovation are one of the top priorities of the Prime Minister’s government. Both sides, the Indian diaspora in the state of Texas and the Indian government are expecting greater collaboration between the two countries in terms of energy security.
“There is unprecedented synergy between our region and the aspirations of a ‘New India’ that Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents. The American dream shares many similarities with the emerging Indian dream,” said Malani. The organizers also said, “Shared Dreams, Bright Futures (The tagline of the event) reflects the intent to build on the common aspirations that bring together the great democracies of the United States and India,” a statement released by the organisers said.
PM Narendra Modi is immensely popular among the NRI and PIO community around the world. He is received by huge crowds whenever he visits countries like United States, United Kingdom which have large Indian diaspora. Donald Trump wants to capitalize on Narendra Modi’s popularity to win the 2020 Presidential Election. This is not the first time when a foreign leader has sought PM Narendra Modi’s help to win the domestic elections. Previously Israeli Prime Minister- Benjamin Netanyahu also sought Narendra Modi’s endorsement in the Israeli election and even put up large banners depicting Netanyahu and Modi, as a mark of successful foreign policy on the Israeli leader’s part. The popularity of PM Narendra Modi and the trust bestowed upon him by foreign leaders shows why India’s foreign policy registered such a significant improvement in the last few years.