Free Tickets But Vacant Seats: Experience of the Sydney Modi Event
It was astonishing that, out of the more than a million Indians who live in Australia, not even 18,500 people showed up to hear Narendra Modi speak in the stadium.
Plenty of seats at the event were vacant
It was noticeable that empty chairs were dispersed throughout the large venue. Even though it had many people in the area near the stage, it was simple to find a seat. On the opposite side of the stage, however, the first level was only partially occupied, and the second and fourth levels only had sporadic occupancy. There were still a good number of chairs there that were empty.
The Tickets for the event were free
The fact that the tickets for the event were free and the registration had been actively done over WhatsApp groups for weeks is quite surprising. Strangely, there seemed to be a shroud of secrecy covering the ticket distribution procedure, giving the whole affair a feeling of secrecy.
Given that it was planned after a nine-year break, Narendra Modi’s program in Australia was eagerly anticipated. In addition, there has been wide-ranging knowledge of Modi’s trip to Australia since February. But it was still unclear whether a public event like the one before would happen.
“Australia Welcomes Modi” was conducted before the event at a high level
A program called “Australia Welcomes Modi” was announced in April, and organizations could sign up to participate as welcome partners and receive tickets for their members. The announcements first appeared on WhatsApp.
An unknown organization IADF was in charge of the event
Further research revealed that the Indian Australian Diaspora Foundation (IADF), a mysterious organization, would be in charge of organizing the program. Up until a few days before the event, information about the organization, including its ownership and website, was not available. It was eventually found out that the organization had only registered itself in February.
However, there was no shortage of Modi’s supporters in Australia, and WhatsApp messages about getting tickets for the event rapidly spread. For organizations and other numerous entities that registered, the IADF website provided a registration link.
What IADF claimed?
Over 350 organizations completed the registration, according to the IADF. There were no seats left for members of the general public or those who were not affiliated with any organization when the IADF announced two weeks before the event that more than 20,000 people had registered for a stadium with a capacity of 18,500 seats.
The IADF announced that they would distribute some tickets to the general public and announced the opening of registration for that purpose, but it quickly closed. It was mentioned that there would be large screens set up outside the stadium so those without tickets could watch the action. This suggested that there would be no room for standing inside the stadium and that a sizable crowd might gather outside.
What was the reality according to eyewitnesses?
However, the interior was completely different from expectations. People were perplexed by the large number of vacant seats in the hall, which was almost half empty, including the section reserved for VIP visitors.
Although the stadium could hold only 18,500 people, the emcee on stage announced that 25,000 people had already arrived. When the stadium gates were locked, eight to ten young men begged to be let inside while a group of families were turned away because their children were younger than four.
It was surprising that, out of the more than a million Indians who live in Australia, only 18,500 people showed up to hear Narendra Modi speak in the stadium.
Several notable ministers from the Australian government attended the event and actively participated. Even though the Indian prime minister was praised by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as “the boss,” journalists questioned whether it was appropriate for him to appear on stage with a leader who possessed tyrannical tendencies the following morning. This line of questioning caused him considerable embarrassment.