Biplab Deb's Tenure Ends: A Look Back at the Good, the Bad & the Controversies

In one of his gaffes, Biplab Kumar Deb had claimed that the internet existed during the times of the Mahabharata.

4 min read
Hindi Female
Edited By :Ahamad Fuwad

In an surprise move, Biplab Kumar Deb quit as Tripura chief minister on Saturday, 14 May, a year ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.

As much as he was in the headlines for rising through the ranks to become one of the youngest chief ministers of the states, he was no stranger to controversies, owing to the many unsavoury, and often comical, remarks he made during his tenure.

Meanwhile, here's a lookback at Deb's tenure as Tripura CM, and the many controversies that marred his tenure.


RSS Man Who Rose Through the Ranks

Deb went to Delhi after completing his education from Tripura University in 1999, and served as a worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the organisation's Jhandewalan branch.

Over the years, he grew through the ranks of the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was made the latter's public relations in-charge in Tripura in 2015, when he returned to his home state.

A year later, he was appointed the party's Tripura unit president.

Deb fought the 2018 Assembly election in the state from the Banamalipur constituency in Agartala and won with a margin of over 9,500 votes.

His party also won a thumping majority in the Assembly, and ended the 25-year-long reign of the Left Front in the state.

Deb was chosen as the chief minister of Tripura by the BJP's central leadership as he was considered instrumental in the party's landmark victory in the polls.

Political Controversies

Deb has faced a number of controversies during his tenure: some political, but most, not-so-political!

In September 2020, Deb criticised the media for publishing stories of alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis by the BJP government.

Subsequently, a journalist with a Bengali daily in Tripura wrote a Facebook post, saying, “I would like to warn the chief minister that he should not try to threaten the media. Today I am posting this. There will be many others in future".

After the post became viral, the man was thrashed at his house in Ambassa, which left him critically injured. The journalist's editor said he suspected that BJP members were behind the attack.

In another incident in 2019, a man was arrested by the Tripura Police for writing a post on social media claiming that Deb's wife had filed for divorce in Delhi's Tees Hazari court.

The Opposition has also alleged that during Deb's tenure, there has been a rise in political killings in the state, with almost all non-BJP parties citing deaths of "hundreds" of party workers.

Three youths were booked for attempting to murder Deb in August 2021, when a car whizzed past him and his security entourage while he was on a night stroll near his residence.

While the then CM managed to jump aside, one of his security personnel sustained injuries.

The three youths, who were allegedly drunk when the incident occurred, were subsequently arrested.

In October 2020, Deb faced a revolt from 12 BJP MLAs in Tripura, led by heavyweight Sudip Roy Barman, who reached Delhi to conduct meetings with different members of the party's top leadership to oust Deb from the CM's chair.

They claimed that the CM had subjected the state to "misrule" and "poor leadership, making the government highly unpopular. Needless to say, they were unsuccessful in their endeavour at the time.


From the Mahabharata to Beauty Pageants - Deb's Many Faux Pas

Ever since he assumed the post of the CM in 2018, Deb has been known for his controversial takes on numerous matters – from the Mahabharata to Rabindranath Tagore.

In one of his gaffes, the BJP leader claimed that the internet existed during the times of the Mahabharata. He said that the charioteer Sanjay narrated what transpired in the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas to the blind king Dhritarashtra with the help of the internet.

In other faux pas, the Deb triggered outrage when he compared Bengalis with Jats and Punjabis, saying that while Bengalis were widely considered intelligent, the latter were "less brainy" but physically strong and buff.

Later, in a display of blatant sexism, Deb questioned the rationale behind crowning Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997, claiming that international beauty pageants were nothing but a farce.

Displaying his lack of knowledge of historical facts, he claimed in May 2018 that Rabindranath Tagore returned his Nobel Prize to protest against the British. While the reality was that the great Bengali poet had rejected his knighthood in protest against the Jalianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919.

The Achievements

Credited with possessing political fierce and wit to take over his opponents, Deb's tenure also saw strengthening of the administrative machinery in the state with technological push.

Known for his stern stand against illegal land grabbing attempts by alleged criminals, Deb's governance also saw a development push with the adoption of several ambitious projects, including the 25-year-old development roadmap called Lakshya 2047.

As per reports, per capita income rose in Deb's tenure. With crimes like rapes and abductions reported to have come down by 30%, the conviction rate reportedly grew by 10%, according to The Indian Express.

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Topics:  Controversy   Tripura   Biplab Kumar Deb 

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