Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has caused yet another controversy, saying that the nails of those who criticise his government should be chopped off. In the last two weeks, the Bharatiya Janata Party politician has made several bizarre statements, which have invited some criticism and a lot of humour.
A video clip showing the chief minister making the comments has been shared widely on social media. It is unclear when and where the speech was made.
Deb provided the analogy of a vegetable vendor to make his point. “Around 8 am, a vegetable vendor brings bottle gourd to the market...however, it gets rotten by 9 am as many customers repeatedly dig their nails into the bottle guard,” Deb is heard saying in the video. “This should not happen with my government...no interference in my government. If someone pokes, or interferes his nail should be chopped off. No one can touch my government.”
On April 18, he said that the internet existed during the time of the Mahabharata. His comments saw Twitter explode with humour and also earned him international coverage. He had also recently said that the government’s achievement of sending “104 satellites a year to space” proved the claims in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Upanishads that ancient India had a developed scientific tradition.
He followed that up a week later by saying that he did not think 1997 Miss World Diana Hayden was worthy of the crown and that Aishwarya Rai, who won the title in 1999, was a better representation of Indian beauty. After facing backlash, Deb said he regretted hurting anyone’s sentiments.
A day later, the chief minister again became the target of jokes when he claimed that civil engineers, and not mechanical engineers, should opt for civil services.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly summoned Deb to New Delhi on May 2. Several leaders of the BJP have expressed concern that Deb’s comments are embarrassing the party ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, The Economic Times reported.