Wharton's decision to cancel Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's keynote address today triggered strong reactions from his well-wishers with Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu opting out of the programme and the Adani Group withdrawing its sponsorship.
The Adani Group, which has a big presence in Gujarat and is reportedly close to Modi, promptly withdrew its sponsorship of the Wharton India Economic Forum, which is organising the programme. Group Chairman Gautam Adani has also decided not to participate in the programme.
"Mr Adani had conveyed his inability to join Wharton India Economic Forum long back as he has other pressing commitments," a group spokesperson said here today.
"Our participation at the event is just by way of sponsorship," he said.
The prestigious Wharton School yesterday cancelled the keynote address of Gujarat Chief Minister following uproar from a section of university professors and students.
The Forum, an annual India-centric conference, is hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Modi had been invited to deliver the keynote address at the Forum to be held in Philadelphia on March 22-23 via video-conference, and Adani group was the platinum sponsor of the event.
Post 2002 Godhra riots, Gujarat CM has been denied US visa, but recently US-India Business Council had participated in the state's biennial event Vibrant Gujarat Summit-2013 in January.
Earlier in the day, former Union Minister and Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu had said he was calling off his visit to Wharton in protest against cancellation of Modi's address.
"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 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."