Agartala: Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb became the centre of attention for almost every media outlet after defeating the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government in Tripura.
However, after swearing-in as the chief minister of Tripura, Deb has had a gaffe-filled journey for the past 32 months. He has caused controversy on several occasions for his statements and claims in public.
Here are six times when Deb’s statements caused controversy or were seen as just plain weird.
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Internet existed during the times of the Mahabharat
On April 18, 2018, while addressing a regional workshop on computerisation and reforms, CM Deb claimed that internet and satellite existed during the time of Mahabharata.
“This is a country where, during the Mahabharat, Sanjay (the charioteer of king Dhritarashtra) gave him details of battle seating beside him. Internet and satellite communication had existed in those days of Mahabharata. How could Sanjay see through his eyes, this means the internet was there,” Deb said.
Beauty pageants are a farce
After his claim on the internet and satellite, on April 26, 2018, Deb made another statement where he said that the international beauty pageants were a farce and questioned the crowning of Diana Hayden as ‘Miss World’ in 1997.
After his statement was criticised by people, Deb clarified that he did not intend to hurt anybody. He said that his statement was about how good marketing could help the state handloom sector.
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Mechanical engineers shouldn’t join civil services
Within 48 hours of his remarks on Diana Hayden, Deb was surrounded in controversy once again after he said that mechanical engineers should not go for civil services. Instead, civil engineers should opt for civil services as they know about building the society and administration.
On April 29, 2019, he suggested the youth to open a ‘paan shop’ or raise cows instead of running behind political parties for government jobs.
Deb had advised the educated youths to become self-sufficient by borrowing loans from the banks under Prime Minister’s Mudra Scheme.
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Rabindranath Tagore returned Nobel Prize
On May 11, 2018, while addressing a function in Udaipur, Deb said that Rabindranath Tagore had returned his Nobel Prize in protest of the British.
Tagore had rejected his Knighthood in protest against the Jalianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919.
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Mughals intended to bomb the culture of Tripura
On November 19, 2019, the CM created quite a stir when he said that Mughals intended to bomb the culture of Tripura.
While addressing the Sharad Sanman 2019, organised by Tarun Sangha at Dhaleswar in Agartala, Deb said, “Tripura has enough wonders which are still unknown to people as the Mughals intended to destroy the culture of Tripura by bombing the arts and architectures of the state.”
Punjabi and Jats have limited brain
The latest controversy surrounded Deb after he said Punjabis and Haryanvis are less intelligent.
While addressing an event in July 2020, Deb said, “When we talk about Punjab, Sardars are not afraid of anyone. They may be less intelligent, but they are very strong. The Jats of Haryana cannot be matched over strength but they have “limited brains”.
Explaining further, he said Bengalis too have their identity. “They are intelligent. It is well known to people that none can beat the wit of the Bengalis. Every community has its own identity and is widely known for its character,” Deb said.
However, two days after he found himself surrounded in controversy, Deb sought public apology for his remarks.
Taking to twitter, Deb wrote, “I had mentioned thoughts of some people about Punjabi and Jats during an event at Agartala Press Club. My intention was not to hurt any community. I am proud of both Punjabi and Jat communities. I have spent a lot of time among them myself.”
“Many of my close friends are from these communities. If my statement has hurt anyone’s sentiments, I personally seek apology for that,” he wrote.
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