Modi to address world from historic London venue during UK visit
London, Apr 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the world in a globally broadcast live event from the historic Central Hall Westminster in London during his visit to the UK, following in the footsteps of speakers such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Modi will arrive here from Sweden on Tuesday night and is set for a packed day of bilateral meetings and events on Wednesday before the live telecast from Central Hall Westminster. According to the Europe India Forum, the organisers of Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath on Wednesday evening, the Indian prime minister will address people of all nationalities and backgrounds as questions pour in on social media from far and wide from the North Pole to New Zealand and Saudi Arabia to San Francisco.
"It will be a no-holds-barred interaction with Prime Minister Modi, in a manner and format never witnessed before," said Vijay Chauthaiwale, in charge of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Foreign Affairs Department. Central Hall Westminster, previously known as the Methodist Central Hall, is one of the largest multi-purpose venues in the heart of London and the site of the first-ever United Nations General Assembly in 1946. Since its opening in October 1912, the then Methodist Central Hall established itself as a prime setting for current affairs and debates and played host to Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to the UK in 1931 at the peak of India's struggle for independence.
Anti-apartheid leader Martin Luther King Jr, the Dalai Lama and Princess Diana are some of the other high-profile speakers at the hall. "The venue is of great global significance and will make history with this unique niche event," said the Europe India Forum, the organisation behind the mega diaspora event attended by nearly 60,000 people at Wembley Stadium during Modi's last UK visit in November 2015.
Nearly 100 young volunteers from across the UK are reportedly giving the final touches to the Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath event, scheduled for early evening on April 18, as they finalise the list of just under 2,000 attendees chosen by ballot from online registrations over the last few weeks.
The organisers said they have had an "overwhelming response" to the studio-style interaction, which will see Modi in conversation with a host who will put questions to him from around the world. Modi will attend the executive session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on April 19 and the CHOGM leaders' retreat in Windsor Castle on April 20 before heading back to India.