Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb today took to Twitter to seek apology from the Punjabi and Jat communities after his shocking comments that painted stereotyped caricatures of Haryana’s Jats and the Bengalis.
“Several of my friends are from this community. If anyone has been hurt by my comments, I am apologetic about that,” Mr De said in Hindi in a series of tweets.
Here’s what Mr Deb – who had made several controversial statements in the past – had said at an event recently: “Haryana has many Jats. Haryana’s Jats lack brains but are brawny. They can’t match Bengalis in brains. Bengalis are known all over India for being intelligent,” Mr Deb declared.
A 50-second video of the Chief Minister’s speech was posted online by Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, who described the comments as indicative of “the mindset of the BJP”.
“At an event at the Agartala Press Club, I had mentioned the views of some people about our Jat and Punjabi brothers. My intention was not to hurt any community. I am proud of both Punjabi and Jat communitirs. I have lived among them for a long time,” Mr Deb tweeted.
Biplab Deb took over as Tripura Chief Minister in 2018 after the BJP ended three decades of Left rule. He is known to shoot his mouth off and so, has been entangled in many controversies over the past year.
In November last year he claimed the Mughals intended to destroy Tripura’s cultural wonders of the state by “bombing” its art and architecture.
The year before Mr Deb claimed that the internet and satellite communication existed in the days of the Mahabharata. “The Europeans and the Americans may claim it is theirs, but it is actually our technology,” he declared.
Also in 2018 Mr Deb said oxygen levels in bodies of water “automatically” rise if ducks swim in them and that he wanted to distribute ducks among villagers to boost the rural economy.