The tenor of his statements after meeting Narendra Modi suggests Abhijit Banerjee was pleasantly surprised to hear what he did from the prime minister even though the Nobel Laureate professor of economics did not say so in as many words.
After meeting the prime minister, Banerjee told news agency ANI, “I had the privilege of meeting Prime Minister Modi. The prime minister gave me enough time and shared what he thought about India.”
— ANI (@ANI) October 22, 2019
Abhijit said, “What Modi thinks about the country is totally different. The prime minister talked about his policies. He talked also about how they are implementing things. the prime minister explained how governance works on the ground: the stakeholders are in control. The prime minister said further how they are trying to improve bureaucracy. It is very important for India that the officers should be responsible to the people. I thank the prime minister for the meeting.” The tenor of this narration is, no doubt, adulatory.
Abhijit Banerjee has been a critic of the economic policies of the Modi government although the former is a welfare economist whereas the prime minister’s policies for the sixth year in a row is more welfarist-socialist than capitalist.
Earlier, Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The Prime Minister has uploaded a picture of his meeting with Banerjee on Twitter.
Posting the picture on Twitter, the prime minister wrote, “Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee. His passion towards human empowerment is clearly visible. We had a healthy and extensive interaction on various subjects. India is proud of his accomplishments. Wishing him the very best for his future endeavours.”
Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee. His passion towards human empowerment is clearly visible. We had a healthy and extensive interaction on various subjects. India is proud of his accomplishments. Wishing him the very best for his future endeavours. pic.twitter.com/SQFTYgXyBX
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 22, 2019
Just two days ago, Union Minister for Commerce and Railways Piyush Goyal had said during an interaction with the media that Banerjee was a “left-leaning” intellectual ostensibly to make light of the professor’s heightened stature due to the Nobel.
Ironically, however, the same day Banerjee spoke to some journalists elsewhere, recalling his years in the Jawaharlal Nehru University where Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was a contemporary. He said that Sitharaman’s views and his did not differ much.