Dailybhaksar.com | Last Modified - Mar 04, 2013, 06:13 PM IST
Mumbai: Angry over Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s cancellation as the keynote speaker at the Wharton India Economic Forum through live videoconferencing, Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu on Monday said he has cancelled his visit to Wharton "as a mark of protest".
"It was Wharton which invited him. Modi did not ask that he be invited. And if you are calling off the invite, I think it is not only an insult of the Gujarat chief minister but of the entire country," Prabhu said.
On the reason for cancelling the Wharton visit, Prabhu said, "I have been a regular speaker at colleges and universities all over the world, be it in the US, Japan, Singapore or the Middle East.
"I find this (Wharton snub to Modi) a ridiculous decision. Modi did not ask that he be invited. He is a democratically elected leader, a three-term CM. Modi is not someone who has been hoisted on somebody. He has been elected as representative of people in fairly conducted polls by the Election Commission," he said.
"The university should be a place where divergent views are debated. Such a decision, that too by a varsity in the US, is unfathomable," he said.
"Gujarat is a leading developed and industrialised state in the country. All businessmen, be it Tata, Ambani or global business leaders, are coming to Gujarat," Prabhu added.
Earlier, chairman of the Adani Group also cancelled his Wharton visit after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was dropped by Wharton Business School as the keynote speaker at an event organised by students on March 22. Promoted by Gautam Adani, Adani Group is one of the main sponsors of the Wharton India forum. Both Gautam Adani and Narendra Modi are reported to have shared close links as AAP founder Arvind Kejriwal had earlier alleged that Modi had rigged a bid in favour of the Adani Group for the supply of electricity on inflated rates while the state-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corp had offered electricity on much cheaper rates.
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania cancelled Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's keynote address at its India Economic Forum following protests from several quarters.
Following is a part of statement that the top business school published as it cancelled Modi’s live videoconference.
“The organizing team of the 17th Wharton India Economic Forum 2013 to be held in Philadelphia on 22nd-23rd March 2013, would like to provide an update on status of the Keynote speech by Mr. Narendra Modi, Honorable Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat. Mr. Modi was slated to deliver the keynote address at the prestigious Wharton India Economic Forum 2013 via live videoconference. As it stands currently, Mr. Modi's keynote address at Wharton India Economic Forum has been cancelled.”
The statement further read, “The Wharton India Economic Forum, an annual student run India-centric conference started in 1996, aims to bring together business and political leaders, professionals, academics, and students from across the world to discuss India's evolution into a global economic power, the key social, political, and financial challenges which still stand in its way, and possible solutions. Over the last 16 years, this conference has emerged as one of the largest and most prestigious India-centric conferences in the world. We are in the last stages of finalizing an additional keynote address to complete our lineup. This keynote will be delivered by a very prominent Indian leader and will be announced very soon on our website.”
Who will be that prominent Indian leader who will replace Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi? A question that will soon be answered, by none other than Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. (with PTI inputs)