The White House will decide if United States President Donald Trump will visit the Sabarmati Ashram during his day-long trip to Ahmedabad on February 24, Gujarat chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Friday.
Rupani’s statement came in the backdrop of speculation in the last two days that the US president will not visit the Sabarmati Ashram, a place closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi.
Earlier it was announced that after landing at the airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, Trump will go to the Sabarmati Ashram and spend around 30 minutes there.
“All preparations are in final stages for the visit of US President Donald Trump. He will directly come to Ahmedabad from Washington. After that a grand roadshow will be organised. Then he will go to the Motera stadium for ‘Namaste Trump’ programme, where two top leaders of the world (Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi) will be present,” Rupani told reporters.
Asked about Trump’s visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, Rupani said, “The White House will decide about it and we will be informed soon.”
“Gujarat is proud to host the US President and people are taking pride that he is coming directly to Ahmedabad from from Washington. This is possible due to PM Narendra Modi’s friendship with Trump,” he said.
“This visit will also prove to be good for India,” Rupani added.
Meanwhile, Amrut Modi, a trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram, said they have not yet received any intimation about the cancellation of Trump and Modi’s visit to the ashram.
“Preparations have been going on since the last one week. Since there is no official announcement yet (about cancellation), we believe that Trump is coming,” he said.
He had earlier said that they would gift Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography and charkha to Trump during his visit to the ashram.
Sources said that route of Trump’s roadshow will also be changed if the US president skips his visit to the Sabarmati Ashram.
“It will be a shorter version of the 22-km roadshow presently planned,” they said.
Sabarmati Ashram is the place from where Mahatma Gandhi led India’s non-violent freedom struggle.
Over the last few years, leaders from several countries, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have paid a visit to the ashram.