President Obama, PM Modi attract huge crowd at Rajpath

New Delhi: Braving cold weather and rain, thousands of people thronged to the majestic Rajpath even before the day had dawned to catch a glimpse of US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, who were here to be a part of the 66th Republic Day celebrations.

Holding placards which read “We love Obama”, youth started pouring in at the venue as early as 6.30 AM and patiently waited in long queues to make it to the enclosures assigned for general public.

Obama is the first US President to be invited as Chief Guest for the important national celebrations, while it was also Narendra Modi’s first Republic Day as Prime Minister.

Amid chants of “Obama, Obama” every few minutes, people stood on their seats to catch a glimpse of the leader as he arrived at the venue in his armoured car ‘The Beast’.

“I have never attended R-Day celebration at Rajpath before. I have come here because of US President Barack Obama. I am a big fan of his,” said Hrithik Sharma, a doctor at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Apart from being bedazzled by the parade, colourful tableaux and motorcycle stunts, another spectator K S Chauhan said his winter morning outing was “successful” as he could watch his favourite leaders together.

“It is an amazing experience to attend Republic Day celebrations at historic Rajpath. I have come here to catch a glimpse of both Modi and the US President,” Chauhan said.

Apart from locals, some American tourists also came out in the early hours to see their President and hoped that Obama’s visit to India will strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

“This is the first time I am attending Indian Republic Day celebrations here. My wife and I have come here on tourist visa. It is also a great moment that a US President is Chief Guest at R-Day celebrations. His visit will definitely strengthen ties between India and America,” John Mathew said.