KOLKATA: BJP’s Bengal unit has been divided into two factions over the issue of criticising Novel laureate Abhijit Banerjee in past few days.
As the party’s state president Dilip Ghosh described Banerjee a “half Bengali’’ and national secretary Rahul Sinha commented on the personal life of the 58-year-old economist, a section of the leaders found it might damage the party’s support base among the Bengali intellectuals and educated class who feel proud themselves of the Nobel laureate.
Rantidev Sengupta, who contested from Howrah Lok Sabha constituency as a BJP candidate in this year’s elections, wrote in a regional news portal that anyone can have different opinion on Banerjee’s achievement but attacking him personally is not a right decision. “Making such comments is damaging BJP’s vote bank. The educated Bengali segment are reacting. Such discussions do not reflect a party’s political vision,’’ he wrote.
Shamik Bhattacharya, the member of the BJP’s West Bengal core committee, said, “I am first an Indian, then a Bengali. I do not dare judge a Nobel laureate’s work.’’
A senior BJP leader in Kolkata said, “PM Narendra Modi is likely to meet Banerjee and congratulate him. But our party leaders in Kolkata are making such comments. What message are we delivering to our voters?’’ he asked. Distancing himself from his earlier remarks, state president Ghosh said people may have divergent views about the acclaimed economist. “I am sure he [Banerjee] will give good suggestions for overcoming the economic crisis that the country as well as the entire world is going through,” he said.
The party’s national secretary Rahul Sinha Sinha said, “Those people whose second wives are foreigners are mostly getting the Nobel prize. I don’t know whether it is a degree for getting the Nobel.’’ Sinha also claimed that Banerjee’s economic theories have not been proved on the ground in India.
Rahul slams Goyal over remarks on Banerjee’s work
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday hit out at Union minister Piyush Goyal for his remarks that Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee is “Left-leaning”, saying “these bigots are blinded by hatred” and have no idea what a professional is. The Union Commerce minister, at a media briefing in Pune, had described Banerjee as a “Left-leaning” person. The Nobel laureate on Saturday told a TV channel that the commerce minister is “questioning my professionalism”. “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,” Gandhi said in a tweet.