The two-day forum scheduled later this month came in the headlines after the WIEF authorities disinvited Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a speaker on grounds of human rights records. Modi's state had witnessed a horrific communal riot in 2002 and several western countries had imposed a ban on him in the wake of the progroms. Although the UK and the EU have recently softened their stands on Modi, the US is yet to reconsider its stand on Modi and grant him a visa.
Modi's participation in the WIEF on March 23 through video-conferencing was considered to be a game-changer but on Monday, it was told that Modi's participation was blocked under pressure from some crucial stake-holders. Modi was supposed to deliver a keynote address. The move sparked off a massive controversy and the Adani Group, the main sponsor of the event, decided to pull out as did Suresh Prabhu, a Shiv Sena leader who was also supposed to participate in the forum.
It was later learnt that activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal was invited to address the forum though sources said that the Aam Aadmi Party leader was not a replacement for Modi.