Kolkata: Nirmala Banerjee, mother of Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, on Monday said everyone was entitled to his or her freedom of speech and critics of his son should be able to respect counter views.
Without naming anyone, she also asserted that detractors won't be able to prove their point of view simply by badmouthing his son. "I don't want to comment on the statements made against my son. It is their prerogative, their freedom of speech. But such comments won't help them prove their own point of view," she told reporters.
Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, at a recent media briefing in Pune, described the Nobel laureate as a "Left-leaning" person. He also said that Banerjee's suggestion of a minimum income scheme has been rejected by Indian voters and there was no need to "accept what he thinks".
Sharing his view, Rahul Sinha, a national secretary of the BJP, also claimed that Banerjee's economic theories have not been proved on the ground in India. A noted economist herself, Nirmala Banerjee insisted that those criticizing him should also realise that others enjoy the same rights.
Alluding to a derogatory comment reportedly made by a political leader, days after his son won the Nobel, she said,
"They are talking about his personal life and second marriage. If they think getting married to a foreigner ensures a Nobel, why don't they do it themselves. That way, we will have many more Nobel prize winners around."
Banerjee, an Indian-born American professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has won Nobel in economics, jointly with wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, for "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".
Known for his criticism of economic policies of the Modi government, he has been in the firing line of a section of BJP leaders since he won the coveted prize.