South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, US Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker from New Jersey and US Congressmen Steny Hoyer (Maryland), Ami Bera and Ed Royce (California) Elliott Engel, Joe Crowley, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Jerald Nadler (New York), Frank Pallone (New Jersey), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) Joe Wilson (South Carolina) and Jim McDermott (Washington) are among those confirmed their attendance. George Jposeph/Rediff.com reports from New York.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will lead the US elected officials attending the community reception for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday.
Already 36 lawmakers, including US Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker from New Jersey and US Congressmen Steny Hoyer (Maryland), Ami Bera and Ed Royce (California) Elliott Engel, Joe Crowley, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Jerald Nadler (New York), Frank Pallone (New Jersey), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) Joe Wilson (South Carolina) and Jim McDermott (Washington) are among those confirmed their attendance.
The Indian American Community Foundation, which is organising the reception has reached out to all lawmakers and governors, inviting them to the programme, Suhag Shukla, one of the members from the core group, told a press conference held at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan on Friday.
Asked if Louisiana Governor Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal, another Indian American, would not attend the reception, she said he might be busy with other things and those who attend the event is a testament to their commitment to the programme.
Dr Bharat Barai, president, IACF, said the tremendous response for the reception shows the community's emotional bond to India. The community appreciates Prime Minister Modi, a self made man, who rose from humble beginnings, Dr Barai added.
Dr Barai did not reveal the actual cost of the event, which is expected to reach about $1.5 million. The IACF, he said, has collected only as much money as is needed for organising the pevent. If there is a balance after the event, it would be donated to a charity, he saidwhich is not determined yet.
Modi will speak mainly in Hindi at the MSG, but he may speak in English too. An English translator will translate the speech and on available headphones about 500 people can hear the speech's English version.
People can watch the speech across the country and at more than 50 locations there will be parties to view the event, IACF spokesperson Anand Shah said. It may take up to two hours for security clearance, he added. Doors at MSG will open at 8:30 am and it is better for attendees to come early.
Every person (except for infants less than two years in age) needs a ticket and photo ID to enter Madison Square Garden. Lottery winners, about 2,000 people, need to bring a copy of the confirmation e-mail to pick up their tickets.
Entry will be closed at 11 am. No one will be allowed to enter the arena after that.
People will be allowed to carry a cell phone. Women are allowed to carry only a small purse (a size that can fit a cell phone) smaller than even what is allowed on a plane. "Do not bring a bag or large purse," was the organisers' advice.
Men cannot carry any item with them unless it fits in their pockets. No laptops, cameras, recorders, iPads, tablets, or any other electronic equipment will be allowed inside the arena.
Backpacks, bags, strollers, umbrellas or other items are also not allowed. The MSG does not have a coat check or any place to leave such goods.
Outside food and drinks (including water) are not allowed inside the stadium. Madison Square Garden has stands inside the stadium that provide various food items and drinks for purchase.
Dr Kiran Patel from Florida, who is in charge of the entertainment programme said, there would be a "very enjoyable show" for almost two hours till the prime minister arrives.