No particular affection for either Modi or Rahul: Jagdish Bhagwati

Economist  Jagdish Bhagwati has once again attacked Amartaya Sen’s policy prescriptions, just days after  his bitter rant in Mint where he compared Sen  to an “anti-semite." ( Read more about that here).

Even Business Standard columnist Mihir Sharma in an article yesterday characterised Bhagwati as being petty and personal but awarded him the title of being 'far more an economist's economist than Sen'.

In an interview with CNN IBN's Sagarika Ghosh, Bhagwati criticised Sen for 'hurting the poor'.

"First, before 1991 reforms by essentially being lukewarm at best and unsupportive of reforms which transformed India and the chances for the poor...200 million people came above the poverty line. Now he's going to do that again. So he's the one economist who has hurt the poor twice," he told CNN IBN.

Jagdish Bhagwati

Jagdish Bhagwati

Bhagwati also attacked Sen for supporting the Food Security Bill as it will increase spending and result in more inflation.

The economist went on to praise Gujarat's growth model in the interview, but clarified that he has no particular affection for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

"The issue is not whether I am for growth and he's somehow like Mother Teresa, in favour of social indicators. We are in favour of social indicators, social progress. The reason why I like the Gujarat model is that growth has taken place on social indicators."

Earlier this week, Amartya Sen had in a candid interview with CNN IBN said he is not in favour of Modi as Prime Minister as he has not done enough to make minorities feel safe.

Bhagwati further clarified that he does not have any particular affection either for Modi or for Rahul Gandhi and the he wants a progressive leader irrespective of the party affiliation.

Interestingly Niranjan Rajadhyaksha in this column for Mint wrote that the Jagdish Bhagwati versus Amartya Sen battle is really a proxy fight between Modi versus Sonia Gandhi.

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