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September 9, 2000
Vajpayee to attend Hindutva fete today
Savera R Someshwar in New York
At 1430 hours local time on Saturday, Staten Island will reverberate to the sound of discourses, bhajans and patriotic songs, as 100 sadhus and an expected audience of over 10,000 Indians congregate in a strong show of Hindutva.
At 1730 hours, the prime minister of India is expected to arrive at Staten Island after a 25 minute ride from the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. He will then address the audience, sources say, for half an hour. Other speakers for the evening include businessman Dr Bhupendra Kumar Modi, international president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Dr Mahesh Mehta, founder of the VHP movement in the United States of America.
Later in the evening, 800 people -- most of whom have bought a ticket at $ 500 for a couple -- will sit down to dinner with Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Organised by the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party, this function is the creation of Dr Mukund Mody, who has been working to put the event together for the last four months.
Tents have already been set up -- at a cost of $ 125,000 -- at the event site. Eight buses have been organised to ferry Indians from their homes in New Jersey and the New York borough of Queens. While those coming in from New Jersey will not pay anything, those boarding the buses at Queens will pay between $ 5 and 7 for the ride. The entire function is expected to cost the OFBJP around $ 400,000.
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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