Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Feb 23 (IANS) In his maiden visit to India, US President Donald Trump will spend his first 15 minutes at “Hriday Kunj”, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for 13 years and also took the famous pledge at the beginning of Dandi March.

In his short stay, Trump will get “sand carpet” welcome in place of red carpet as per the guidelines of the Ashram.

Trump is expected to arrive at the Ashram around 12.30 p.m. on Monday directly from Ahmedabad international airport before attending the “Namaste Trump” at the Motera stadium. He will be accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and a galaxy of top US official.

The US President will offer a “Sutmala” on the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi at the Ashram before Prime Minister Narendra Modi will brief him about “Hriday Kunj” and introduce a sizable collection of manuscripts of Gandhi’s writings during his stay here.

“US President will arrive here around 12.30 p.m. tomorrow (Monday). Mr Trump will stay only for 12-15 minutes and almost all the time at the Hriday Kunj where he will offer a ‘Sutmala’ on the photograph of Mahatma,” Atul Pandya, Director Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, told IANS.

Earlier, confusion prevailed over Trump’s visit to the Ashram but no official communication was made so we were sure of Trump’s arrival at the Ashram, Pandya said.

He also said the US President will not be provided red carpet welcome as it is against the rules of the Ashram. “Instead, the US President will be provided sand carpet welcome.”

Informing about the ‘Hriday Kunj’, Pandya said this is the place where Mahatma and his wife Kasturba Gandhi spent 13 years of their life between June 1917 and March 12, 1930 — the day he organised famous Dandi march alongwith 78 Ashram residents.

After reaching Ahmedabad International Airport at around 11.30 a.m. on Monday, he will be given a guard of honour and then will embark on a roadshow after attending a cultural programme.

Taking a short break at Sabarmati Ashram, Trump will resume the roadshow, and reach the Motera stadium via Indira bridge, Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Ashish Bhatia told reporters.

PM Modi and Trump are scheduled to address the “Namaste Trump” event at the Motera stadium which is called the world’s largest cricket stadium and still under construction.

Trump will leave for Agra around 3.30 p.m. after the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

Meanwhile, preparations are on in full swing at the Ashram for the high-profile visit and hundreds of police personnel have been deployed for providing security cover at the outer periphery of the historic structure where several world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had visited in recent years.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

rak/rt

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