- "Bigots are blinded by hatred," Rahul Gandhi said
- He said "millions of Indians are proud" of Abhijit Banerjee
- "I am not partisan in my economy thinking," the Nobel laureate said
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted in support of Abhijit Banerjee today after the Nobel Prize-winning economist told NDTV on Saturday that he objected to Union Minister Piyush Goyal questioning his professionalism. "Please be certain that millions of Indians are proud..." Mr Gandhi wrote on his official Twitter account after Mr Goyal, on Friday, said Mr Banerjee's praise for the Congress' NYAY scheme revealed his "totally Left-leaning" thinking and that his work had been rejected by the people of India.
The NYAY or Nyuntam Aay Yojana is a minimum income guarantee scheme that headlined the Congress manifesto for the national election earlier this year. The party crashed in the polls. Rahul Gandhi, in his tweet congratulating Mr Banerjee for his Nobel, credited him with the NYAY plan.
"Dear Mr Banerjee... These bigots are blinded by hatred and have no idea what a professional is. You cannot explain it to them, even if you tried for a decade. Please be certain that millions of Indians are proud of your work," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Mr Banerjee, while speaking to NDTV on Saturday, had said, "If the BJP government, like the Congress party, had asked what were the numbers on the fraction of people under a particular income, would I have not told them the truth? In terms of being a professional, I want to be professional with everyone."
"I am not partisan in my economy thinking," he continued, pointing out he had worked with the Gujarat pollution board back when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was still a Chief Minister.
"...we actually had an excellent experience. I would say that they were willing to engage with the evidence and they implemented policies that followed with that experience," Mr Banerjee said.
#WATCH Piyush Goyal:Abhijit Banerjee ji ko nobel prize mila main unko badhai deta hun.Lekin unki samajh ke bare me to aap sab jaante hain.Unki jo thinking hai,wo totally left leaning hai.Unhone NYAY ke bade gungaan gaye the,Bharat ki janta ne totally reject kar diya unki soch ko pic.twitter.com/v7OO49ie5E— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2019
On Friday Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, immediately after congratulating Mr Banerjee for his win, went on to dismiss the JNU- and Harvard University-trained economist's work.
"Abhijit Banerjee won the Nobel Prize. I congratulate him. But you all know what his understanding is. His thinking is totally Left-leaning. He had praised the NYAY scheme effusively, but people of India totally rejected his thinking," he said.
The Congress's NYAY scheme had promised to give Rs 72,000 annually to each of the 20 per cent families in the poorest of the poor category.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at Mr Goyal for his remarks, saying the government's job was to improve the "collapsing" economy and not to run a "comedy circus".
Mr Banerjee, who has been a strong and vocal critic of the BJP-led government's economic policies, had recently remarked the Indian economy is in a state of crisis.
"You have to take it seriously that the economy is in crisis. If you look at one number that jumps out at me from the analysis of the NSS (National Sample Survey) data, it is the average consumption in India. We are slightly lower today than it was in 2014-15. That's an unprecedented event," he told NDTV.
An India-born American economist Abhijit Banerjee was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics earlier this week. He won the award jointly with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".
With input from ANI
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