Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb’s list of gaffes is getting longer

New Delhi:  In the 50-odd days that he has served as Tripura chief minister, Biplab Kumar Deb hasn’t lost an opportunity to speak his mind and share his opinion on a range of subjects. Mr Deb, who last week had to apologise for one of his comments on the crowning of Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997, however, isn’t letting the backlash that followed, slow him down.

A new video is being widely circulated of Mr Deb’s speech at the Civil Services Day in state capital Agartala last week — the speech was delivered within hours of his apology to Diana Hayden — that shows the 46-year-old chief minister talking about his idea of governance, and public property.

“No one can lay a hand on my government or the public. Biplab Deb is not the government. The public is the government,” Mr Deb says in the video, raising his left hand and pointing his index finger briefly towards the audience. There is a brief silence in the hall. 

He speaks again: “No one can lay a hand on my public.”

In the video, he is heard comparing his government with a lauki (bottle gourd) to drive a bizarre point about retribution.

“When I was young… people used to say if it’s government property, you can do anything you want with it… just as you do to a lauki. A vegetable seller brings fresh lauki to the bazaar at 8 am. By 9 am that lauki gathers so many nail marks, it cannot be sold. You either have to feed it to a cow at the bazaar or take it back home. My government cannot be like that, no one can leave nail marks on it. Whoever leaves nail marks, their nails will be cut,” the chief minister says in the video.

Last month, Biplab Deb’s theory on ancient Internet and satellite communications was panned by people on social media and had embarrassed the party. 

Then he questioned the crowning of Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997, saying she was “not an Indian beauty like Aishwarya Rai”. 

The Tripura chief minister also stated that mechanical engineers should not opt for civil services, but civil engineers should. Last week, he delivered two new bloopers. “Graduates shouldn’t run after government jobs, they should start paan shop instead,” he declared. Also, he suggested, young men should breed cows and explore a career in dairy.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s massive victory in the Tripura assembly election in March threw the spotlight on Biplab Deb, who took over two years ago as the BJP’s Tripura chief, its youngest in any state. 

He was trained by the BJP’s ideological mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and mentored by Sunil Deodhar, the BJP’s Tripura in-charge known for managing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in the 2014 national elections in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi.

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