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‘Even if You Tried For Decade…’: Rahul Gandhi Tells Abhijit Banerjee How to Deal with ‘Bigots Blinded by Hatred’

Abhijit Banerjee had assisted the Congress in formulating the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme which promised to give Rs 72,000 annually to each of the 20 per cent families in the poorest of the poor category.

News18.com

Updated:October 20, 2019, 10:51 AM IST
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‘Even if You Tried For Decade…’: Rahul Gandhi Tells Abhijit Banerjee How to Deal with ‘Bigots Blinded by Hatred’
Abhijit Banerjee, one of the three winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, at a news conference at the MIT on October 14.

New Delhi: A day after Abhijit Banerjee gave interviews to a number of media houses, speaking about the NYAY scheme, BJP’s Lok Sabha win and fielding criticism from union minister Piyush Goyal, Rahul Gandhi asked the Nobel laureate not get affected by “bigots” as they are “blinded by hatred”.

“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,” the Congress leader tweeted on Sunday morning.

Banerjee had assisted the Congress in formulating the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme which promised to give Rs 72,000 annually to each of the 20 per cent families in the poorest of the poor category.

On the day he was conferred with the prestigious award for his work in fighting global poverty, he said, "the Indian government is on shaky ground and that policies are evaluated based on accepted criteria and looked at as an option".

Referring to Banerjee's critical remarks on the dire state of the economy, Goyal had hit out at the economist and said the Indian public has rejected his thinking.

"I congratulate Abhijit Banerjee for winning the Nobel Prize. But, you all know about his thinking. It is left-leaning. He had sung praises for NYAY (Congress's minimum income scheme manifesto promise). The people of India have rejected this thinking," Goyal said at an event in Pune.

In an interview to CNN-News on Saturday, Banerjee admitted that the NYAY programme was not “particularly well-designed”.

“NYAY was not particularly well designed. I don’t take responsibility for it as nobody asked me whether that’s how it should be designed. So I don’t think it’s a question of whether the time for the scheme had come or not. I think it was an idea, which even if politically supported, may not have been the best design scheme. Maybe if the UPA had won later, they would have to adjust the scheme because there would be political pressure or economic pressure to change it. My role in all of that was not to design the scheme but to provide information that you could use to make choices,” he said.

The Nobel prize winner also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “genuinely popular” and people supported him as they decided no other opposition leader was worth voting for.

However, he added that electoral victory must not be seen as an endorsement of government’s policies. Responding to a question on Goyal’s criticism that he was a “Left-leaning” professor whose idea [NYAY scheme] was rejected in elections, Banerjee said people had voted for Modi but not every decision that he took.

Goyal is among a number of BJP leaders who have criticised the Nobel Prize awardee. BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde had also sardonically described Banerjee as the "man who recommended inflation and tax rates to be raised" in the country.

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