Wharton says NO to Narendra Modi; Sena says NO to Wharton

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Narendra Modi
Mumbai, March 4: Protesting against Wharton's decision of cancelling Narendra Modi's keynote address, Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu called off his programme as speaker.

Hours after the news over Wharton and Modi, the Shiv Sena leader announced his decision on Monday, March 4. Suresh Prabhu, a member of the India Economic Forum at Wharton, asserted that the decision of snubbing Modi is an insult to the country. Hence, the former NDA power minister cancelled his visit to Wharton.

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, chairman of the Adani Group Gautam Adani, 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.

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