Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Tuesday said his government would soon introduce National Council of Educational Research and Training syllabus in state-run schools, The Indian Express reported. He alleged that the Tripura Board of Secondary Education had spread Marxist propaganda during the 25 years of Left rule.

“When I say education, I mean quality education and not just numbers,” Deb said at the first NITI Aayog meet for the North East that was held in Agartala. “The Communists only wanted the people of Tripura to study Mao [Zedong] and forget our Hindu kings. They removed Mahatma Gandhi from textbooks in government-run schools. I am going to implement NCERT syllabus in all these schools which will also have chapters on Tripura’s history.”

The chief minister claimed that students from Classes 9 to 12 were being taught about the Russian and French revolutions, the birth of cricket in England, Nazism and the rise of Adolf Hitler, but not Indian freedom fighters. Many chapters on ancient Indian history were also absent from the textbooks, he alleged.

Deb said that when he moved into his office he was surprised to find that his predecessor Manik Sarkar did not have the national flag on his table. “I got the tricolour on that table for the first time.”

Later, in an interview to The Indian Express, the chief minister talked about the incidents of statues of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin being defaced in the state. “The government is not against the corporation building another statue, but they will need permission and we will not allow anything illegal,” Deb said. “However, we do not support any kind of vandalism. It is not in our ethos [to demolish statues] as we worship idols in this country.”

The chief minister claimed that Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadres who switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party had vandalised these statues. “For the past 20 to 25 years, the CPM gave them hope that they will get jobs but they did not get anything,” Deb alleged. “It was their anger against the CPI(M).”