The Congress on Thursday hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party after its leader Chandan Mitra has sparked a controversy by saying that Nobel laureate Amartya Sen should be stripped of his Bharat Ratna.
Minister of In rank and Broadcating Manish Tewari said the Opposition is fine till the time people agree with it. “The BJP is fine with a person as long as he or she toes their line. Has someone ever said to take away Bharat Ratna given to a person?” he questioned.
He also questioned whether the BJP believed in freedom of speech and questioned what incorrect Amartya Sen has did by presenting his point of view. “Is this not a fascist mind set? Do BJP leaders believe in freedom of speech ? This is an attack on freedom of expression.
The Congress said Modi gives a statement daily but the BJP considers their freedom of speech vital and does not hold same for others.
“Are people not entitled to a view ?What has Amarta Sen done?,” he questioned.
Citing the example of Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP poll panel chief Narendra Modi, Tewari said the Chief Minister gives a statement daily but his party does not believe in same for others. “Gujarat Chief Minsiter is giving a statement daily. He and his party considers their freedom to converse in vital but does not believe the same for other,” he said.
Later taking a dig at Modi, Tewari dared him for an open debate on his model of power. “He can choose on the place and we invite him for an open debate on the Gujarat mode of defence. Let the people of the country be the mediate,’ he added.
Minister of State for Human Resources Shashi Tharoor also said there is no question of revoking somenone’s Bharat Ratna. “I would not like to comment on what Chandan Mitra has said…but there is no question of revoking someone’s Bharat Ratna,” he said.
Another Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed hit out at the BJP on the microblogging site Twitter and tweeted that it’s a height of ‘intolerance’. “Amartya Sen doesn’t want Modi as PM, rates him not more than Nitish. For this sin BJP wants to strip his Bharat Ratna. Isn’t it height of intolerance,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Chandan Mitra is evading the media. When questioned about the controversy, he point blank refused to comment on it. Mitra said, “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.”
Even though Mitra is evading media, many BJP leaders have also come out strongly against Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen saying that Sen’s remarks were unacceptable. “Mr. Modi is the heartbeat of the nation now. Such a statement coming from him is rather unacceptable to BJP,” BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
He also hoped that Amartya Sen amends his statement. “I am awe struck at Amartya Sen’s statement. I hope he ammends his statement,” he said. But, he refused to add anything to what Mitra said and added, “I can know if he does not like Mr. Modi but that does not mean that he can say such things.”
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy too hit out at Amartya Sen and endorsed Chandan Mitra’s demand. “I had opposed his Bharat Ratna even at the time the NDA government had given him the Bharat Ratna. So I fully support Chandan Mitra’s demand. If a scholar has consistently had an anti-India stance in his writing, then he will surely face flak for it. Now that he has the Bharat Ratna, he should be more austere and more responsible,” Swamy said.