Since 2014, Indian politics has witnessed a barrage of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders coming into limelight with the party winning several elections and gaining ground in states where it historically hadn’t. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb should have been famous for a similar reason – being the first-ever BJP CM of the state – however, a series of asinine statements transcending logic and facts has turned Deb into a laughing stock.
The impact of Deb’s non-stop gyan was such that even news organisations fell for fake Biplab quotes tweeted by unverified Twitter handles because that quantum of doubt that “No! An elected official holding a chief ministerial post just cannot say that” had vanished.
So let’s throwback to the times Deb made us go WTF in his first 100 days as the chief minister of Tripura.
Biplab Putting the Myth in Mythology
While addressing a regional workshop on computerisation of the Public Distribution System in Agartala on 17 April, the 46-year-old BJP leader claimed internet existed during the times of Mahabharata, and using the technology Sanjay narrated the happenings of the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas to the blind king Dhritarashtra.
Later, Deb went a step further to defend his comments in the face of criticism saying, “Narrow minded people find it tough to believe this. They want to belittle their own nation and think highly of other countries. Believe the truth. Don’t get confused and don’t confuse others.”
Biplab the Beauty Pageant Judge
Well, if you thought the Mahabharata jibe was an off-the-cuff comment, then you were wrong, because this time Deb truly went all out ludicrous. In a display of blatant sexism. Deb questioned the rationale behind crowning Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997 and claimed that international beauty pageants were a farce.
Biplab the Career Counsellor
After sharing his expertise on Indian mythology, beauty standards and the fashion industry, this time Deb, in his infinite wisdom, gave some career advice to engineers.
“Earlier, arts graduates use to appear for the civil services examination and now, medical and engineering graduates are also joining the services,” Deb said.
To drive his point home, he cited the examples of Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev. "People take names of special players such as Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev. Dev's bowling was good, but batting was also excellent. This is the age of specialty. All-rounders are accorded highest priority," Deb said.
Biplab the Economist
Was this Deb’s attempt of one-upping Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pakoda comment?
Biplab the Enforcer
This time, the Tripura CM was trying to teach the importance of hygiene and keeping our nails short. However, he chose a weird set of words to make his point.
In a video from 30 April, Deb could be heard saying, “Around 8 am, a vegetable vendor brings bottle gourd to the market. However, it gets rotten by 9 am due to repeated digging of nails by customers. This should not happen with my government.”
Biplab the Historian
Remember those ‘almost politically correct redneck’ memes from 2012, Deb’s last noted gaffe fits into that.
In an almost factually accurate statement, Deb mixed up history with his nationalistic feelings.
"Rabindranath Tagore was a world famous poet. He is such a great man that he rejected the Nobel Prize opposing the British rule," the chief minister said after inaugurating the Rajarshi festival at Bhubaneswari temple in Agartala on 11 May.
So this was a quick recap of the BJP government’s first 100 days in Tripura. Here’s to the next 100 days, hoping the northeastern state gets the national media’s attention, however, for better reasons.
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