RAMPUR, India (AP)--Thousands of villagers lined
the streets to see Bill Clinton drive through
the dusty roads of north India to inaugurate a girl's polytechnic school in the hometown of an
Indian-U.S. friend. Girls danced the Bhangra, a robust peasant dance, after the inauguration
and the dedication of the school in the name of his wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.
"I also grew up as a poor student in the United
States. I became president of the United States,"
Clinton told a gathering of students and local dignitaries after the festivities in his honor.
Clinton also laid the foundation stone of the
science wing of the Cowherds' Agricultural College,
where his friend Vinod Gupta studied before emigrating to the United States.
"India...will prosper if every village child gets a proper education," Clinton said.
Earlier, the former U.S. president arrived at
an air force base in Sarsawa, in Uttar Pradesh state,
and drove 35 kilometers to Rampur Maniharan town, where the two schools are situated.
Thousands of villagers lined the dusty road and cheered wildly as Clinton's motorcade passed.
"Long live Clinton," the people shouted. Clinton waved at them.
He made an unscheduled stop in a crowded town
square and shook hands with the people,
much to the consternation of his security detail, who led him back to his car.
Clinton, on a weeklong tour of India, was to spend
Sunday evening and Monday in the ancient city of Jaipur,
capital of the desert state of Rajasthan.
A visit to see some rare collections at the palace
of Jaipur's former ruler, including a 17th-century silk carpet
exhibited at New York's Metropolitan Museum two years ago, was canceled because of security concerns, officials said.
He still was scheduled to have dinner with the
former Maharaja of Jaipur at his fort near Nayla village.