Parties in West Bengal cutting across political lines unequivocally criticised Union minister Piyush Goyal for his comment against Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee and said it reflects the "narrow" mindset of BJP and the saffron camp.
Union minister Piyush Goyal on Friday dubbed Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee, who won the 2019 Nobel for Economics, as "Left-leaning" and said he had supported 'Nyay' (the poverty alleviation scheme of Congress) and that the people of India rejected his ideology.
The Bengal BJP unit, however, refrained from making any comment on the issue.
"The statement by BJP leaders against Abhijit Banerjee, who has not made Bengal but the entire country proud, is a reflection of the narrow mindset of BJP and the saffron camp. The lesser they (BJP) speak on Abhijit Banerjee, the better. It only reflects the mean mindedness of BJP," a senior TMC leader said.
Senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said nothing more should be expected from a party like BJP which believes in selling off PSUs and privatisation of the Railways and BSNL.
"It is quite natural that BJP and leaders like Piyush Goyal won't like Abhijit Banerjee and will try to demean him. Because BJP believes in privatization of PSUs, BSNL, Railways which is a complete antithesis to what Abhijit Banerjee has been saying. We can only request BJP leaders to refrain from making comments on the pride of India," Chakraborty said.
Senior Congress leader and MP Pradip Bhattacharya criticising Goyal said a nobel laureate supporting Congress's NYAY scheme reflects that the party was right in taking it up before the Lok Sabha polls.
"Does Abhijit Banerjee supporting the NYAY scheme take away the laurel he has brought to the country by winning the Nobel prize in economics? Such comments only reflect the educational standard of BJP leaders. Abhijit Banerjee supporting NYAY scheme reflects that Congress was completely right in taking up the scheme for helping the poorest of the poor of the country," Bhattacharya said.
Banerjee, an Indian-American, has jointly won the Nobel prize in economics along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for the "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty". Duflo, a French-American is Banerjee's wife.
Banerjee was one of those who had conceptualised Congress's NYAY scheme ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2019.