Narendra Modi effect: Wharton to lose main sponsor?

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New Delhi, March 4: Ahead of its crucial and one of the biggest event, it seems thatWharton India Economic Forum may lose its main sponsor with the ouster of Gujarat-based billionaire entrepreneur Gautam Adani.

As a mark of protest against Wharton organisers' decision of snubbing Narendra Modi as one of the guest speakers, Mr Adani on Monday, March 4 cancelled his scheduled visit to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Gautam Adani-led Adani Group is the main sponsor of the mega-even which is scheduled to be held on March 22 and 23.

Earlier Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu also had called off his engagement with the even claiming that Wharton insulted India after dropping Modi's name from the speakers' list.

The Gujarat Chief Minister was supposed to address the crowd at at Wharton India Economic Forum on March 23. Earlier it was reported that Modi would address the prestigious forum at Philadelphia in the USA through video conferencing.

It is learnt that the authorities took the decision under "pressure from multiple stakeholders". "We do not endorse any political views and do not support any specific ideology. Our goal as a team is only to stimulate valuable dialogue on India's growth story," the forum said in a statement on Sunday.

It added, "As it stands currently, Mr Modi's keynote address at Wharton India Economic Forum has been cancelled." The forum is an annual student-run India-centric conference hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

A group of professors and students at Wharton had written a strong letter saying they are outraged to learn that the forum had invited Modi as a keynote speaker.

"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," the latter said.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia is also expected address the Forum on March 23. The forum said the student body was extremely impressed with Modi's credentials, governance ideologies, and leadership, which was the primary reason for his invitation.

Other invited guest speakers from India are - Union Minister of State for IT and Communications Milind Deora, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, actress Shabana Azmi and poet and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar.

Earlier guest speakers such as former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, BJP leader Varun Gandhi and industrialist Anil Ambani had attended the same meet in previous years.

OneIndia News

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