Image Source : PTI (FILE IMAGE) Nobel laureate Amartya Sen

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Wednesday (June 26) took a harsh at the present ruling dispensation in the country. Speaking to a media channel at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata on his arrival from the US on Wednesday night, the economist emphasized key observations he finds displeasing.

Firstly, the Nobel laureate asserted that the recently concluded Lok Sabha poll results indicated that India is not a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and there is a need to be “politically open-minded,” especially when India bears a secular Constitution.

“I do not think the idea of turning India into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is appropriate…That India is not a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ has been reflected in the election results,” Sen said.

It is pertinent to note that the recently concluded Lok Sabha Elections 2024 presented a surprising picture, with the ruling BJP, who won over 300 seats in the 2019 elections, this time losing a major share of votes, with the party coming down to 240 seats only, thus failing to pass the majority mark in the parliament to form the government on their own. However, with its NDA allies—N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U)—the BJP formed the government at the Centre. 

Displeasure over “continuation” of putting people behind bars “without trial”

Meanwhile, apart from expressing discontent over the idea of turning India into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, Sen also expressed displeasure over the “continuation” of putting people behind bars “without trial.”

“We always hope to see a change after every election. Some of what happened earlier (during the BJP-led central government) like putting people behind bars without trial and widening the gap between the rich and poor, are still continuing. That must stop,” he said.

“When I was young, many of my uncles and cousins were put in jail without trial during the British era. We had hoped that India would be free from this. Congress is also to blame for the fact that this did not stop. They didn’t change it… But, this is more in practice under the present government,” the Nobel laureate added.

Further, the noted economist also opined that the new Union cabinet was “a copy of the earlier one.”

“The ministers continue to hold similar portfolios. Despite a slight reshuffle, the politically powerful are still powerful,” he said.

Sen also said that unemployment was on the rise in India, and sectors like primary education and primary healthcare were being neglected. He also emphasized that attempts were being made to overshadow the country’s true identity.

Replying to a question on the BJP losing the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat despite building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Sen said, “… Building the Ram Temple spending so much money… to portray India as a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, which should not have happened in the country of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It shows an attempt to neglect India’s true identity, and it must change.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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