PM Joked Media Making Me Say Anti-Modi Things: Abhijit Banerjee

Earlier in the day, Banerjee had met with Modi and held a “healthy and extensive” interaction on various subjects.

Updated22 Oct 2019, 11:41 AM IST
2 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim

Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee addressed a press conference on Tuesday, 22 October, on a day that he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he laughingly told reporters that PM Modi said he knew that the media was trying to make Banerjee say anti-Modi things.

“The prime minister started by cracking a joke about how the media is trying to trap me into saying anti-Modi things. He has been watching TV, he has been watching you guys, he knows what you are trying to do, so I think stop,” Banerjee laughed, reacting to a question at the press conference.

Banerjee Meets PM Modi

Earlier during the day, Banerjee had met with Modi and held a "healthy and extensive" interaction on various subjects. Tweeting after the meeting, Modi praised Banerjee and said that India was “proud of his accomplishments.”

“Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee,” Modi wrote, sharing a picture of their meeting at his official residence.

Speaking about his interaction with PM Modi, Banerjee told reporters that it was a privilege to have this meeting and that it was interesting to talk about the PM’s way of thinking.

"The PM was kind enough to give me quite a lot of time and to talk a lot about his way of thinking about India, which was quite unique. Because one hears about policies but one rarely hears about the thinking behind them," Banerjee said, speaking to ANI.

Controversy Over Banerjee

PM Modi’s interaction with and his praise of Banerjee comes in the wake of criticism directed towards the renowned Indian-American economist by Indian politicians, such as Union minister Piyush Goyal.

Goyal, at a recent media briefing in Pune, had described the Nobel laureate as a "left-leaning" person, PTI reported. Goyal had also said that Banerjee's suggestion of a minimum income scheme has been rejected by Indian voters and there was no need to "accept what he thinks".

PM Modi, too, had not congratulated Banerjee as soon as the news of him winning the award broke. According to a report by The Telegraph, PM Modi took four hours to tweet his congratulations to Banerjee. While the news broke in the afternoon, PM Modi’s tweet finally came around 7 pm, in which he congratulated Banerjee and said that he had made “notable contributions in the field of poverty alleviation.”

Banerjee has in the past criticised Modi’s demonetisation decision and was also one of the economists consulted by the Congress for the Nyay scheme.

Banerjee, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has won the Nobel prize in economics, jointly with wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".

(With inputs from PTI, ANI and The Telegraph.)

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Published: 22 Oct 2019, 07:39 AM IST

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