Is Foreign Wife Criterion for Nobel Prize? After Goyal, BJP's Rahul Sinha Mocks Abhijit Banerjee

Kolkata: BJP National Secretary and the party's former West Bengal unit president Rahul Sinha stoked a controversy on Friday as he mocked the credentials of Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee days after the Indian-American was presented with the prestigious award.

Reacting to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal's comment earlier in the day that people of the country have rejected Banerjee's ideas on NYAY, Sinha said that people whose second wives are foreigners are mostly getting the Nobel Prize.

He also wondered whether having a foreigner as the second wife was a "degree" for getting the Nobel.

This year's Nobel prize in Economics was jointly awarded to Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee and Esther Duflo, a French-American economist and fellow US professor Michael Kremer. Duflo is Banerjee's second wife.

Banerjee had assisted the Congress to formulate the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Minimum Income Guarantee programme), its flagship social welfare programme in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto. The scheme promised to give Rs 72,000 annually to each of the 20 per cent families in poorest of the poor category. The Congress, however, lost the election.

"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 said.

He found merit in Goyal's critical references to Banerjee, whom he called a "Leftist".

"Piyush Goyal is right because these people have daubed economics in the colours of the Leftist policies. They want to run economics through the Leftist road. But Leftist policies have become redundant in this country," Sinha added.

Announcing the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the research conducted by Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer has considerably improved the ability to fight global poverty.

Born in Mumbai in 1961, Banerjee is one of the world's leading development economists and is presently working as a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He has, in the past, never minced any word in criticising the economic policies and other actions of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the centre. Even after winning the Nobel, Banerjee expressed concern over the condition of the Indian economy.

With IANS inputs