NEW DELHI: The BJP on Monday attacked Rahul Gandhi and wondered if he will ever learn to be "graceful" after the Congress leader hit out at the Modi government's economic policies while congratulating economist Abhijit Banerjee for winning Nobel prize.
Soon after Indian-American Banerjee won the coveted honour, Gandhi noted that the economist had helped conceptualise Nyay, a minimum income guarantee scheme that was the most prominent campaign promise of the Congress for the recent general elections, and then the opposition leader took a dig at the government.
"Abhijit helped conceptualise NYAY that had the power to destroy poverty and boost the Indian economy. Instead, we now have Modinomics, that's destroying the economy and boosting poverty," Gandhi tweeted while congratulating him.
BJP's IT department in-charge Amit Malviya was quick to hit back, noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Banerjee "without any ifs and buts despite knowing that he has been a critic".
"Here is PM Modi congratulating Abhijit Banerjee without any ifs and buts despite knowing that he has been a critic. And Rahul Gandhi is not only politicizing Abhijit's Nobel prize but also using it to attack PM Modi. I know it is tough but will Rahul ever learn to be graceful?" he tweeted.
Malviya posted a screenshot of congratulatory messages by both Modi and Gandhi to make his point.
Modi had earlier tweeted, "Congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee on being conferred the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. He has made notable contributions in the field of poverty alleviation."
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also congratulated Banerjee and said his work on poverty alleviation and development of new techniques were truly pathbreaking.
Singh said Banerjee's pioneering innovations in development economics were applicable and useful to policymaking in developing countries such as India.
"Apart from making the nation of his origin proud by this spectacular achievement, Prof Banerjee's and his fellow recipients' work in 'experimental approach to alleviating global poverty' had helped millions across the globe, including India, come out of poverty. Their methodology, approach and experiments were exemplary and of extreme contemporary relevance. His recognition as a Nobel laureate has delighted every Indian," Sonia Gandhi said in a statement.
In a letter to Banerjee, Singh said, "It gives me immense pleasure and pride to know that you are now the second Indian to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics."
"My heartiest congratulations to you and your co-winners. Your scholarly work on poverty alleviation and development of new techniques such as Randomised Control trials are truly path-breaking," Singh, a renowned economist himself, said.
"I am particularly pleased, as a student of economics, that the Committee chose to honour pioneering innovations in development economics that are very applicable and useful to policymaking in developing countries such as India," the senior Congress leader said in his congratulatory message to Banerjee.
The Congress party also tweeted, saying, "Congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee for winning the Nobel Prize 2019. His incredible work in poverty alleviation has made our country proud. The renowned economist was a key consultant for the path-breaking NYAY programme presented by the Congress party."
Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh tweeted, saying, "Delighted that Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo have won this year's, Economics Nobel. As Minister of Environment and Forests in 2010, I had asked Duflo to work on market instruments for pollution control. I'm glad that system is now in use in Gujarat."
Banerjee, his wife Esther Duflo -- both working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -- and Harvard University professor Michael Kremer jointly won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize on Monday "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".
Amartya Sen was the first Indian economist to win the Nobel Prize in 1998.