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Rediff.com  » News » Kejriwal, Mohandas Pai to speak at Wharton

Kejriwal, Mohandas Pai to speak at Wharton

March 13, 2013 13:29 IST

Activist-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal and Manipal Group chairman Mohandas Pai are two new faces who will address the prestigious Wharton India Economic Forum meeting.

In a fresh list of keynote speakers to this annual conference being organised by the WhartonSchool -- one of the most prestigious business schools of the US -- Union Minister of State for IT and Communication Milind Deora does not figure in any of the panels.

Into its 17th edition, the WIEF has been engulfed in controversies first for its decision to invite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to deliver a keynote address, and later for rescinding the same invitation following protest from a group of professor and students from the University of Pennsylvania.

As per the original list of speakers, Modi was among the six original keynote speakers.

The latest list has only two keynote speakers with Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Ron Somers, president of the US India Business, from the original list.

Two others Gautam Adani from the Adani Group and Atul Nishar, from Hexaware Technologies, have dropped off after Wharton's decision to rescind its invitation to Modi.

According to WIEF, Kejriwal, the National Convener of Aam Aadmi Party, and Ahluwalia would deliver their keynote addresses via video conference.

Organisers of WIEF did not give any reason for Deora no longer being a keynote speaker or in any of the panel of speakers.

The latest panel of speakers during the daylong event on March 23 also indicates some changes among the participants.

In the panel on healthcare, Dr Preetha Reddy, managing director of Apollo Hospitals, and Dr Ashwin Naik, CEO and co-founder of Vaatsalya Healthcare, are no longer among the listed speakers.

In place of columnist Sadanand Dhume, who is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute -- a Washington-based eminent American think-tank, who withdrew from the conference because of WIEF decision on Modi, the organisers have now invited New Jersey-based eminent Indian-American Dr Sudhir Parikh.

British Airways has joined the conference as a travel sponsor.

Launched in 1996, Wharton India Economic Forum is an annual India-centric conference hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, bringing together business and political leaders, professionals, academics and students from around the world to discuss India's evolution from an emerging nation to a prominent global economic power, and the key social, political and financial challenges which still stand in its way.

Past speakers to the conference have included A P J Abdul Kalam, P Chidambaram, K V Kamath, Varun Gandhi, Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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