'PM joked how media is trying to trap me...,' Abhijit Banerjee on Modi meeting

New Delhi: Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee had a "healthy and extensive" interaction on various subjects with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

Banerjee, an India-born American professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has won Nobel in economics, jointly with wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".

"Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee. His passion towards human empowerment is clearly visible. We had a healthy and extensive interaction on various subjects. India is proud of his accomplishments. Wishing him the very best for his future endeavours," Modi said in a tweet, sharing a picture of their meeting at his official residence.

Later, when asked about the meeting by reporters, Abhijit Banerjee said he will not get into controversial statements and that he had been warned by Modi.

“Prime Minister started by cracking a joke about how the media is trying to trap me into saying anti-Modi things. He has been watching TV, he has been watching you guys, he knows what you are trying to do,” he said.

However, some BJP leaders, including some Cabinet ministers, have been critical of Banerjee's work. Addressing a press conference in Pune last week, Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said Banerjee had "a Left-leaning mindset" and that his views had been rejected by India.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Banerjee was instrumental in framing Congress' Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) or minimum income guarantee scheme. The party was routed in the polls.

Goyal had also said Banerjee's suggestion of a minimum income scheme was rejected by Indian voters and there was no need to "accept what he thinks".

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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