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Mamata Meets Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee's Family in Kolkata, Later Commits Faux Pas over His Name

The chief minister, speaking after a cabinet meeting, referred to Abhijit Banerjee as Abhishek babu.


Updated:October 16, 2019, 8:11 PM IST
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Mamata Meets Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee's Family in Kolkata, Later Commits Faux Pas over His Name
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee exchanges greetings with Nirmala Banerjee, mother of Indian-American Nobel Prize winning economist Abhijit Banerjee, in Kolkata on Wednesday. (PTI Image)

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made a faux pas on Wednesday by repeatedly mentioning Abhijit Banerjee, the Nobel Prize winner in economics this year, as 'Abhishek Babu'.

Abhishek (Banerjee) is the name of her nephew and Trinamool Congress MP, while 'Babu' is an honorific.

The chief minister, speaking after a cabinet meeting, said "From Bengal there are people like Amartya Sen, Mother Teresa who had bagged the Nobel (Prize) earlier. Now that Abhishek [read Abhijit] Babu has got it, it is a matter of pride for entire Bengal.”

She continued, “Abhishek babu’s mother is here (in Kolkata)… I’m going to his house to meet her today.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Mamata Banerjee visited the Nobel laureate's house in South Kolkata and congratulated his mother on her son's success. Accompanied by senior officials, she also exchanged pleasantries with Nirmala Banerjee, his mother.

Abhijit Banerjee, an Indian-American, has jointly won the Nobel prize in economics along with his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer. He bagged the award for his "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".

The West Bengal government is also planning to organise a grand felicitation for the Nobel laureate, senior minister Partha Chatterjee said on Tuesday.

Abhijit Banerjee is scheduled to arrive in the city on the night of October 22. He is an alumnus of South Point School in the city and Presidency College, Calcutta, where he completed his BSC degree in economics in 1981. He received his PhD in 1988 from Harvard University.

Abhijit Banerjee, 58, is currently the Ford Foundation international professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mamata Banerjee also heaped praise on former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly for being unanimously elected as the BCCI president calling him “ghorer chele”, which in Bengali would mean a family member.

Earlier, there was Jagmohan Dalmiya and now that Sourav Ganguly got this chance at this (young) age… it’s a matter for pride for West Bengal, she added.

"I had a conversation with Sourav through text messages yesterday. He came to meet me before the Durga puja. He will come again and we will have a talk… Sourav is our ‘ghorer chele’ (family member),” she added.

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