‘Modi Express’ bus launched in London
The ‘Modi Express’ bus was launched on Saturday ahead of its month-long tour around iconic landmarks in central London. The bus, which was launched amidst much fanfare made its first stop at Ealing Road, Wembley also known as ‘Little India’, followed by Trafalgar Square to celebrate Diwali in London.
As the bus drove around parts of London, it was received by onlookers and passers by with enthusiasm thereby building the momentum of Prime Minister Modi‘s visit to the UK.
Mayuri Parmar from the organising committee said “We have had Chai Pe Charcha in India, now we will have Bus Pe Charcha in the UK.” And indeed it was, because never before has any Prime Minister from another country been received with so much anticipation and affection.
Lord Dolar Popat, who inaugurated the bus during a traditional coconut-breaking ceremony, said: “This bus launch is yet another example of the UK and India bringing people together for a positive cause. As we look forward to Prime Minister Modi’s visit in November, I’m so encouraged to see members from across our communities coming together and supporting one another. I hope many of you get the chance to support and participate in what is looking to be Modi Mania in the UK!”
Keith Vaz MP encouraged people to join him on the Modi Express bus from Leicester saying “even if you’ve left your oyster cards at home, be sure to bring your ‘Modi cards’ to join the Modi Express wherever you are.”
Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, the London Borough where Wembley Stadium is situated, said “I am looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to Brent. There is huge excitement amongst all communities.”
The civic leaders who attended and spoke at the event included Navin Shah, member of the London Assembly, Krupa Sheth, the youngest British Indian councillor in the UK, and Krupesh Hirani.
The bus launch is in tribute to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United Kingdom later this year, during which he is set to attend the biggest community reception for any foreign elected leader on British soil.
Over 60,000 people will attend the reception, called UKWelcomesModi, and tickets are due to be distributed by Wembley Stadium in coming weeks. People from over 250 cities and towns in the UK have applied for an invitation. They have applied from as far north as Dundee and as far south as Plymouth.
Nitin Palan, coordinator of the Modi Express bus said: “Our website will be going live next week. You will be able to book Modi Express bus tickets to attend the event from all over the country.”
There has been an overwhelming response to the event that is already oversubscribed. With over 450 community organisations joining the UKWelcomesModi as Welcome Partners, a large proportion of the 1.5 million Indian diaspora will attend the event. With 10% under the age of 16, the youngest applicant for an invitation has been 2 months, whilst the eldest is over 100-years-old.