Ending its silence, the Wharton School has backed the organising committee of Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) on cancelling the address of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, but regretted the confusion caused as a result of the change in programme.

“The student organisers of the upcoming Wharton India Economic Forum have announced that they have cancelled the proposed keynote address by Narendra Modi,” the Wharton School said in a statement on Monday.

“We appreciate the efforts our students have put forth in organising this event and regret any confusion that may have been caused by the change in programme,” the Wharton School said.

Since its inception in 1996, the meet has emerged as one of the largest and most prestigious India-focussed business conference that provides a platform for leaders to discuss the opportunities present in India and the challenges that need to be addressed.

Following “furious” protest from a section of university professors and Indian-Americans in the country, WIEF in a statement on Sunday had cancelled its invitation to Mr. Modi for delivering an address to its annual event on March 23 via video-conference.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Aam Admi Party in New Delhi yesterday said that WIEF has invited activist Arvind Kejriwal to replace Mr. Modi as the keynote speaker.

However, a WIEE spokesman said that no such announcement has been made in this regard so far.

Past keynote speakers have included former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, BJP leader Varun Gandhi and industrialist Anil Ambani.