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Kejriwal will replace Modi at Wharton now

The withdrawal of invitation to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has snowballed into a major controversy with Gujarat-based billionaire entrepreneur Gautam Adani cancelling his scheduled visit to the renowned centre of business studies. Adani’s cancellation came soon after former union minister and Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu also decided to not visit the Ivy League B-School.

Activist and politician Arvind Kejriwal has been invited to replace Modi as the keynote speaker at the event. When Millennium Post contacted Kejriwal’s office, we were told that the activist-turned-politician will address the audience through video conferencing as he is staring his indefinite fast from 23 March in Delhi.

Modi was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the Wharton India Economic Forum via video conference later in February. However, Wharton cancelled Modi’s address saying it fears polarising reactions if Modi is invited, after a group of professors and students there protested because an invitation was extended to him. Adani Group is the main sponsor of the Wharton India Economic Forum.

The organisers in a statement had said: ‘We hope to have Mr Modi speak at a more appropriate forum where he can interact with students without the distraction of this kind of attention.’ A group of Wharton professors and students had written a strongly-worded letter saying they were outraged to learn that the Forum has invited Modi as a keynote speaker.

The letter noted, ‘This is the same politician who was refused a diplomatic visa by the United States State Department on March 18, 2005 on the ground that he, as Chief Minister, did nothing to prevent a series of orchestrated riots that targeted Muslims in Gujarat.’

Among other eminent invited guests to the conference are Milind Deora, the Union Minister of State for IT and Communications, actress Shabana Azmi, poet and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia is also expected to address the forum on 23 March.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided to play down Wharton’s cancellation of video address by Modi and said the Gujarat chief minister does not need an acceptance certificate from any international body. ‘It is Modi’s acceptance in India that matters. He needs no certificate from any international forum. He had not filed an application to speak at Wharton instead they had invited him,’ said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain.


UNCLE SAM’S SNUB!
  • MODI WAS scheduled to deliver keynote address at Wharton India Economic Forum via video conference

  • WHARTON cancelled Modi's address saying it fears polarising reactions if he is invited

  • A GROUP of professors and students protested because invitation was extended to him

  • THEIR LETTER noted, ‘This is the same politician who was refused a diplomatic visa by the United States State Department on March 18, 2005 on the ground that he, as Chief Minister, did nothing to prevent a series of orchestrated riots that targeted Muslims in Gujarat.’

  • AMONG OTHER eminent invited guests to the conference are Milind Deora, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar and Montek Singh Ahluwalia
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