Days after Piyush Goyal's 'Left-leaning' remark, Narendra Modi meets Abhijit Banerjee, says economist's 'passion for human empowerment is visible'

  • The meeting comes amid criticism levelled against Banerjee by senior BJP leaders like Union minister Piyush Goyal

  • Goyal congratulated Banerjee for winning the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, but also said that he is 'left-leaning' and the people of the country have 'totally rejected' his thinking

  • Rahul Gandhi had slammed Goyal for the 'bigotted' comment against Banerjee and said, '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'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee on Tuesday and said that the economist's "passion" towards human empowerment was "clearly visible". Modi also said that they "had a healthy and extensive interaction on various subjects."

"India is proud of his accomplishments. Wishing him the very best for his future endeavours."

Soon after the meeting, Banerjee spoke to TV channels and said that the meeting had been a "unique" experience for him. He thanked the prime minister and said, "(Modi) explained how he’s trying to reform the bureaucracy to make it more responsible and to expose it more to the reality on the ground. This is a very important point for India, that the bureaucrats be more aware of real-life situations," he added.

The meeting comes amid criticism levelled against Banerjee by senior BJP leaders like Union minister Piyush Goyal who dubbed him a "Left-leaning". On 18 October, Goyal congratulated Banerjee for winning the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, but further added that his thinking is "Left-leaning" and the people of the country have "totally rejected" his thinking.

"I congratulate Abhijit Banerjee for winning the Nobel Prize. But you all know about his thinking. His thinking is left-leaning. He has heaped praises on the NYAY scheme but the people of India have totally rejected his thinking."

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi slammed Goyal for the "bigotted" comment against Banerjee. Congratulating Banerjee on his win, Rahul had tweeted that he had helped conceptualise the NYAY scheme, which was a major poll plank for the party during this year's Lok Sabha elections. Reacting to Goyal's statement, Rahul tweeted on Sunday, "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."

Banerjee had responded to Goyal's comment and said the commerce minister had "questioned" his "professionalism". He was further quoted by NDTV as saying, "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? I would have told them exactly, I would have been as willing. In terms of being a professional, I want to be professional with everyone. I am not partisan in my economic thinking."

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 22, 2019 14:44:54 IST