TMC slams PM economic adviser Sanjeev Sanyal’s comments on Bengalis

Senior BJP leader and former state party chief Rahul Sinha declined to comment on the issue.

Kolkata: Certain comments on the people of West Bengal by Prime Minister’s Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal have created controversy, with the Trinamool Congress accusing him of “fanning open hatred” towards the residents of Kolkata.

In the video shared by the Trinamool Congress on its X handle, Sanyal is seen commenting that Bengalis of Kolkata are afflicted with “poverty of aspirations” and aspire to be “an antel”.

In common parlance among Bengalis, antel’ means a pseudo-intellectual.

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If “that is your aspiration, that you are sitting around smoking, sipping alcohol and passing judgement on rest of the world, I have no problem (with) either of them,” he said in the video.

Towards the end of the shared clip, the senior economist is also heard saying: “If Mrinal Sen movies are aspirations of society, then do not complain that is what you get.”

A livid TMC claimed that “hate-spewing” anti-Bengalis have crossed all lines of decency.

West Bengal’s ruling party said in a post on X: ” Sanjeev Sanyal openly criticised the glorious culture of Bengal by accusing us of having a Poverty of Aspirations’, making a complete fool of himself!”

The TMC also described the economist as “a new addition to the list of modern-day Mir Jafars.”

Mir Jafar served as the commander of the Bengal army under Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, and betrayed him during the Battle of Plassey in 1757, paving the way for British rule in India.

“Following the footsteps of his Bangla-Birodhi (anti-Bengali) overlords of the BJP, he mocked our cultural icon Mrinal Sen and the prolific culture of Kolkata, the city of joy. The next time PM Narendra Modi comes to Bengal, he should clarify whether he endorses such xenophobic views,” the TMC said.

Jawhar Sircar, a TMC Rajya Sabha MP and former bureaucrat, also condemned the remarks of Sanyal.

“PM’s chosen Econ Advisor trying to fan @narendramodi ‘s open hatred of Bengal – for rejecting him decisively in 2014, 2019 (Lok Sabha polls). PM stopped funds to WB. Not 1 Cabinet Minister from WB despite 18 MPs from here. Mir Jafars helping Modi – despite obvious hate for WB,” Sircar said on X.

Sircar also claimed that the economist has lived in Delhi and abroad for his entire life and does not know the Bengali alphabet.

Senior BJP leader and former state party chief Rahul Sinha declined to comment on the issue.

“I think it is up to the national leadership of the party to comment. Also, I don’t have the full context about the claimed statement and what the question was,” he added.

Sanyal recently shared on X handle the video footage of a podcast “where I discuss the ‘poverty of aspiration’, the manipulation of narratives by foreign NGOs, the unhealthy craze for UPSC and the cause of Kolkata’s decline”.

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