Previously Indian Prime Ministers, Dr Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee who have visited the U.S. were subjected to community receptions in ballrooms of five star hotels with a capacity of only around 1000. The committee initially looked at renting the New York MetLife Stadium, which can accommodate 82,500 people or the Yankee Stadium that can accommodate 50,000 people, but both venues were unavailable because of the dates clashing with sports events.
The organizers, mostly from the Overseas BJP unit have also been instructed to make the event a grand and independent show. The party sources have said this time the prime minister’s office has taken measures to stop all factionalism and directed a committee led by Dr Bharat Barai to take charge. Barai, a medical oncologist in Indiana, is a long-time friend of the Prime Minister since his days in the RSS. He and his wife Panna were personal front-row guests of the Prime Minister at his swearing in New Delhi in May. Their friendship goes back to 1993, when Modi stayed with the Barais in Munster, Indiana, during his visit to Chicago for the Swami Vivekananda Centenary.