New Delhi: A major slugfest erupted on Thursday over BJP MP Chandan Mitra's demand for stripping nobel laureate Amartya Sen off the Bharat Ratna award and the economist offering to return it if Atal Bihari Vajpayee asks him to do so.

"Mr Chandan Mitra may not know that the Bharat Ratna was given to me by the BJP-led government and was handed to me by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. If Mr Vajpayee wants me to return it, I will certainly return it," Amartya Sen said.

He said it was unfortunate that such a demand had come forth and termed it as a "personal" view of Mitra. "To get into a political debate and somebody takes a view which seems to me is rather all the people as well....I think it is unfortunate....It is so unproductive actually," Sen said.

He added that during the BJP-led NDA government, he has had a lot of discussion with leaders like LK Advani, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Arun Jaitley.


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