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No announcement on Modi replacement yet: Wharton

March 05, 2013 02:08 IST

The Wharton India Economic Forum on Monday said that it has not made any announcement on who would replace Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as one of the key-note speaker at its annual event later this month.

"We have not made any announcements," Tanmay Mishra, from WIFE, told PTI when asked about the news report that the organisation has invited social activist Arvind Kejriwal to deliver the key note address in place of Modi.

WIFE had cancelled the invitation to Modi after it received furious petition signed by 135 people -- which was organised by three Indian-American professors from the University of Pennsylvania -- in which they opposed their decision to invite Modi, based on the allegation of human rights violations against him.

"I am thrilled of course. But also worried because this is perhaps one of many efforts to make Modi respectable," Ania Loomba, the Catherine Bryson Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, told PTI.

Toorjo Ghosh, the Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Suvir Kaul, the A M Rosenthal Professor of English at the university were the other two professors to have instantly organiaed the campaign.

"Also the ideology of business schools celebrating capitalism with no holds barred means they will find themselves on the wrong side of human rights if they are not careful.

It's significant that this protest was organized by three professors outside Wharton and one lawyer," Loomba said referring to the fact that none of the petitioners who signed onto the anti-Modi petition were from the prestigious WhartonSchool.

Arguing that they do not endorse any political views and do not support any specific ideology, the WIFE in Sunday statement said their goal as a team is only to stimulate valuable dialogue on India's growth story, and to act as a forum where students and audiences interact with influential leaders from across India.

The student organising body was extremely impressed with Modi's credentials, governance ideologies, and leadership, which was the primary reason for his invitation, the statement said.

"However, as a responsible student body within the University of Pennsylvania, we must consider the impact on multiple stakeholders in our ecosystem," the organising committee explained.

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