Congress slams BJP demand to strip Sen of Bharat Ratna

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) BJP MP Chandan Mitra's demand to strip Nobel laureate Amartya Sen of the Bharat Ratna for his anti-Narendra Modi remarks has irked the Congress which Thursday called it an insult of the highest civilian award and a reflection of fascist mentality.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said noted economist Sen, 79, had a right to express his views.

"What kind of mentality is this. Either you are with us or against us. If you are against us, you are not entitled to Bharat Ratna," he asked.

Tewari said Bharat Ratna was bestowed on Sen by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the major constituent.

He said suggestions were also being made that Amartya Sen, who is based in the US, should return the Nobel prize.

"What is it that Mr. Amartya Sen has done. In this country aren't people entitled to their view. If this is not pure fascism what else is it," Tewari said.

Amartya Sen had said in a TV interview that he did not want Modi to be prime minister of the country in view of his "record" during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad said every citizen had a right to express his views.

He said the demand to take back the honour bestowed upon Sen "was an insult of Bharat Ratna" and accused the BJP of displaying "height of intolerance".

"Amartya Sen doesn't want Modi as PM, rates him below Nitish. For this sin, the BJP wants to strip his Bharat Ratna. Isn't it height of intolerance? (sic)," Ahmad said in a tweet.

In tweets Wednesday, Mitra said the next NDA government should strip Sen of Bharat Ratna.

"Amartya Sen says he doesn't want Modi to be India's PM: Is he even a voter in India? Next NDA Govt must strip him of Bharat Ratna. Please Dr Sen, don't peddle your unsolicited comments on India. We now know you as a has-been economist who sells Congress line for a living," Mitra had said.

"Those who are upset with my suggestion about Sen and Bharat Ratna, can you show me examples of others who do party politics after getting BR (Bharat Ratna) I repeat. Bharat Ratna is a jewel of whole country. No BR should speak for or against any party or leader. Sen shouldn't join Cong poll team," Mitra added.

Mitra's demand was supported by BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi.

Ahmad used the expression "height of intolerance" used by Modi earlier this week to target the Congress over alleged action of its workers in shutting down an eatery in Mumbai which had on its bills remarks critical of the United Progressive Alliance government.

Poet Javed Akhtar, a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, also hit out at Mitra's remarks. "Moral of Mr. Chandan Mitra's outburst - If you want BHARAT RATNA and retain it too, never say a word against Mr. Modi," Akhtar said in a tweet.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »