'Regret saying Amartya Sen should be stripped of Bharat Ratna'
In an interview to CNN-IBN, Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Chandan Mitra has expressed his regret for having demanded that Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen be stripped of his Bharat Ratna.
He said while he stands by his opposition to Sen’s economic and political views, he perhaps exaggerated himself by asking for taking away the Bharat Ratna. Excerpts:
On his tweet that Amartya Sen be stripped off his Bharat Ratna:
I will take it in parts; first and foremost, you see that I don't believe that parochial and regional sentiments should come in the way of taking an ideological position. And therefore it's true that I’m a Bengali, a proud Bengali. I went to Oxford, I got my doctorate from there and I've studied economics also. But I have often believed from the time I've been a student that Dr Sen's economics is outdated and perhaps needs to be discarded. So, my tweet about him saying that he should be stripped off Bharat Ratna, I will explain it more, but basically it was not really intended to go and snatch away ((Bharat Ratna) that is hanging on his neck. That is not the case.
On his misleading comment:
I think I may have exaggerated. And I regret hurting him, and it seems he is very hurt. But what I was basically aiming at was that, and I stand by that, you see the person of his stature, who has been given a national recognition, the highest national recognition should resist from partisan political opinion.
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Image: Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen
Photographs: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
'Dr Sen, behave like a Bharat Ratna awardee'
On embarrassing the BJP by this comment:
The party has clarified its position and I don’t want to say anything further except to add that I had made it clear the very day I tweeted that these are my personal comments. So when a newspaper called me up for a follow up story and they asked me if it was a party point of view I said, “Not at all.” This has nothing to do with the party and it’s my personal view. It had appeared even before (BJP spokesperson) Nirmala Seetharaman tweeted the party's viewpoint.”
Message to Amartya Sen:
I hope he is watching me and my only message is that 'Dr Sen please don’t indulge in partisan politics. We all respect your economics, we all respect the fact that you are a Bharat Ratna, but a Bharat Ratna should behave like a Bharat Ratna.’
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Image: BJP MP Chandan Mitra
'Every utterance of Modi is dissected like an animal'
On being touchy about Narendra Modi:
This is the media's interpretation and this is why it has become a very difficult situation for people like us that any comment you make is interpreted pro Modi or anti Modi. This is very unfortunate because the whole dialogue of Indian politics seems to have come down to just one person Narendra Modi. The media is indirectly responsible. The BJP has promoted people before but we have never seen this kind of media frenzy where every utterance of Narendra Modi is taken up, dissected like an animal on a table.
There is a large section of media and politics who doesn’t want to see Modi as the PM or even as a leader of the BJP but the decision must be left to the people.
On withdrawal of his Bharat Ratna comment:
I have said that stripping of the Bharat Ratna is an over statement. I regret only that part. I insist Dr Sen had no business in saying what he did.
On Dr Sen playing politics of the Congress:
He has not said he is supporter of the Congress party. In fact he said in an interview he is not for neither against it. But he has said Rahul Gandhi could make excellent PM material while at the same time he ran down Narendra Modi.
Dr Sen has always had political views. He was a Leftist. Nothing wrong with that but of late without naming the political party he has been supporting the Congress government and policies so whether that translates into him being a Congress activist, I don’t know. I think it is very unfair the way he has targeted the BJP for a ling time.
Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi