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I have no affection for Narendra Modi or Amartya Sen: Economist Jagdish Bhagwati

Last Updated: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 19:37

New Delhi: After Amartya Sen`s controversial remarks that he would not like to see Modi as India`s Prime Minister, another noted economist Jagdish Bhagwati has said he has no particular affection for either Modi or Rahul Gandhi.
"I am not going to vote for Modi. I have no particular affection for him. But I have no particular affection for Rahul Gandhi also.

"I want all of the progressive people, no matter which party they belong to, to look at the ideas we are proposing and show where they stand and what they are going to do with these ideas," Bhagwati told a news channel.

Asked if he would like to see Modi as Prime Minister, he said he would not go by personalities and like to see what their platforms and their programmes are. "I would also like to see debates between them like in America."

He said he was in favour of social indicators and social progress and the reason why liked the Gujarat model was that growth has taken place on social indicators.

"I don`t know what his model is. What has happened in Gujarat is that relatively rapid growth has taken place. He has actually been very good about getting license cleared very fast, he has added to electricity supply which is a big problem...All of which is exactly the way development takes place and then I also find that social progress has taken place," Bhagwati said of Modi`s governance.

Bhagwati, who has been critical of Amartya Sen`s model of growth, has said that the Nobel laureate has actually hurt the poor in India by not really supporting the reforms in 1991 and pushing for Food Security Bill which would create inflation.

Bhagwati, a pro-liberal and market oriented economist, however, did not want to get into the debate over whether Sen should be stripped of the Bharat Ratna as demanded by BJP MP Chandan Mitra.

Bhagwati said, "The only thing in Congress is that while he deserves the Nobel prize and so on...His policies have unfortunately ruined the prospects of India and India`s poor. But that is for us to understand.

"This is nothing to do with theory. He has actually hurt the poor by not really supporting full heartedly the reforms in 1991 and now he is unfortunately pushing for Food Security bill in a way which is actually going to create inflation."

He said Sen was going to be the only economist to "damage India`s poor twice. First by being lukewarm at best and unsupported of reforms which transformed India and the chances for the poor.

"200 million people came over the poverty line. Now he is going to do that again. So he is the one economist who has hurt the poor twice whether he deserves Bharat Ratna or not, thats not for me to decide. I would not take away any honours from anyone," Bhagwati said.


First Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 19:37
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