Manish Tewari says BJP's criticism of Amartya Sen 'fascist'

New Delhi, July 25 : Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its hostile reaction to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen's comment on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and termed Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra's demand that the renowned economist be stripped off the 'Bharat Ratna' to be a reflection of fascist mentality.

"So what is it that Mr. Amartya Sen has done? In this country or in this world aren't people entitled to a view? If this is not pure fascism then what is it?," Tewari said.

Chandan Mitra had earlier in a television interview suggested that Amartya Sen be stripped off the Bharat Ratna.

"Amartya Sen says he doesn't want Modi to be India's PM. Is Sen even a voter in India? Next NDA government must strip him of Bharat Ratna," Mitra said during an interview to CNN-IBN.

Commenting on Mitra's comment, Tewari said: "The BJP is fine with a person as long as he or she toes their line. If you do not endorse or applaud the work that they have done, then not only are you subjected to the ignominy -- which asks for the return of the Bharat Ratna, something which has possibly never happened in independent India. But some BJP spokesperson went a step further saying that you (Amartya Sen) should also return the Nobel prize."

"What kind of mentality is this? Either you are with us or you are against us. If you are against us, you are not entitled to the Bharat Ratna, which the then NDA government of which the BJP was the principal participant bestowed upon Amartya Sen," he added.

Sen had earlier this week told a television channel during an interview that Narendra Modi could have done more for Gujarat's education, health and for secularism, instead of focusing solely on physical infrastructure development in that state.

Referring to Modi, Sen said "I think I would like a more secular person to be Prime Minister. I would not like a Prime Minister who generates concern and fear among minorities. That is the primary reason. I am in favour of someone who looks at social administration and not just business administration seriously. That doesn't mean that I don't see what he has done and why people admire him."

Sen went a step further in saying that as an economist he didn't approve of the 'Modi model' of governance saying, "I don't think the record is very good. I don't have to be a member of the minority in order to feel insecure. I could be a member of the majority."

"We Indians don't want a situation where the minority feel insecure and could legitimately think that there was an organised violence against them in 2002. I think that is a terrible record and I don't think Indian Prime Minister as an Indian citizen ... of who has that kind of record. No, I do not," he said.

--ANI (Posted on 25-07-2013)

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