03/08/2006

Presidential visits to India: Then and Now

President Clinton’s visit to India In March 2000:

“The president was sick of not interacting with people,” said White House spokesman Jake Siewert. It started in the village of Nayla, where Clinton allowed a swarm of colorfully dressed women to shower him with flower petals as they danced and chanted all around him. He did a sort of hopping dance in response, and the funny, happy scene aired on televisions throughout the world. Today in Hyderabad, Clinton spoke to high-tech industry executives and then plunged into the crowd to shake hands as if it were an election-eve rally. … Tonight, at a meeting of business executives in Bombay, the president spoke fondly of the Nayla scene, when flower petals rained on him. “I’m known now for not dancing very well,” he said. [Washington Post, 3/25/00]

President Bush’s visit to India today:

Tens of thousands of Indians waving black and white flags and chanting “Death to Bush!” rallied Wednesday in New Delhi to protest a visit by President Bush. … “Whether Hindu or Muslim, the people of India have gathered here to show our anger. We have only one message — killer Bush go home,” one of the speakers, Hindu politician Raj Babbar, told the crowd.
[AP, 3/1/06]

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