Uddhav asks Amartya Sen not to poke his nose in politics
Shiv Sena deprecated Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Chandan Mitra's demand for stripping Nobel laureate Amartya Sen of Bharat Ratna over his comments on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi but advised the seasoned economist "not to poke his nose" into politics.
"Sen is an economist of international repute and such demands (stripping him of Bharat Ratna) shouldn't be made by his detractors," Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"Amartya Sen is an economist, but the poor of the country wonder what exactly he does. The economy of the country is in a bad state, prices are soaring and poverty is on the rise. It is not Modi who has done this and despite being a Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen has no medicine for this," he said.
"If people ask Sen to first do his work properly and refrain from poking his nose in politics, what reply does he have," Uddhav said, adding, "Amartya Sen's greatness cannot be denied. The demand to strip him of Bharat Ratna is also not right. Everyone should maintain their limits."
Sen had recently said he does not want Modi to become India's prime minister as he did not have secular credentials. The prominent economist had also criticised Modi's model of governance.
Following this, BJP's Rajya Sabha member and journalist Mitra had demanded stripping Sen of the Bharat Ratna -- the country's highest civilian honour.
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'Modi not the head of Al Qaeda but an elected CM of a state'
"Amartya Sen says he doesn't want Modi to be India's PM. Is Sen even a voter in India? Next National Democratic Alliance government must strip him of Bharat Ratna," Mitra had tweeted, triggering a storm of protest from BJP's opponents. The BJP also distanced itself from Mitra's comment.
The Nobel laureate, while responding to Mitra's demand, said he was ready to return the award if former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had conferred it on him, asked him to.
Backing Modi, BJP's poll campaign committee chief, on the American visa issue, Uddhav said, "Narendra Modi is not the head of a terror organisation like Al Qaeda, Taliban or Lashkar-e-Tayiba but an elected chief minister of a state.
"The US gives visas to Kashmiri separatist leaders. Pakistan is the den of terrorism. Despite the US forces killing Osama on Pakistani soil, Pakistani politicians still get US visa, but Modi is opposed," he said.
"Some Muslim leaders from Congress are speaking in support of Indian Mujahideen, but no one takes such an extreme stand against them. On the other hand, Modi is made to appear as if he is the biggest enemy of the nation," the editorial said.
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Image: Amartya Sen with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
Barb a symbol of intolerance of the party: Nitish
Describing BJP's barb against Sen as "symbol of intolerance", Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accused its old NDA partner for encouraging "undemocratic" practices under the new leadership.
"This is a symbol of intolerance of the party," Kumar told reporters at his Assembly chamber.
"If you do not agree with us we will not tolerate you. This is the new way of thinking in that party under new leadership," Kumar added.
"According to them somebody does not have even right to air one's opinion on any subject," he said.
"The new culture in BJP makes it amply clear that they have little regard for the Indian constitution and the fundamental right of freedom of speech enshrined in it", Kumar, senior Janata Dal-United leader said.