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FM Nirmala Sitharaman clearly stumped by Devdutt Pattanaik tweet

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s stern demeanour always suggested that she was a no-nonsense person. On Sunday, she gave ample testimony to that when she shut up author Devdutt Pattanaik, who is known for his work in mythology and interpretation of ancient Indian scriptures.

The provocation came when Pattanaik questioned Sitharaman’s abilities as finance minister and called for a campaign to elect BJP leader Subramanian Swamy as the finance minister who, he said, "actually knows economics".

Taking to Twitter, Pattanaik shared a screenshot from a teaser video of a media channel on the Union Budget in which Sitharaman is depicted as Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.

"Remember the movement to get Kalam ji a second term? Can we start a campaign to get Dr Subramaniam Swami (who actually knows economics) as finance minister? Why is he being ignored? Court conspiracy? @SwarajyaMag @OpIndia_com @TrueIndoIogy are you up to this dharmik task?" Devdutt Pattanaik tweeted.

Sitharaman -- otherwise never short of words, though her Hindi vocabulary is nothing to write home about -- responded to Devdutt Pattanaikon Twitter with just three question marks (???).

What she meant is left to imagination. But the cryptic rejoinder (???) had the desired effect and Pattanaik apologised to the finance minister for "crossing the line". "I guess I crossed the line. Apologies," Devdutt Pattanaik tweeted.

But the polite apology was not the end of the matter. In another tweet, after much trolling, the author said, "This picture (of Lakshmi) is really Bad Vaastu for economy.

Madam [Nirmala Sitharaman] should have NEVER allowed it. But who cares for opinions of lowly people like me who actually read the scriptures? Again apologies for crossing line."

Pattanaik has written elsewhere that ‘‘Lakshmi is called ‘chanchala’. Chanchala means ‘one who is whimsical’, you don’t know in which direction she shall move.

Nobody can predict the movement of Lakshmi, just as we cannot predict the movement of the stock market, the monsoon.’’ That makes one wonder: Is the FM whimsical or a no-nonsense economist who will stick to her course.