Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb Says Jats & Punjabis “Less Brainy”, Proving All His Views Belong in the Past


Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb Says Jats & Punjabis “Less Brainy”, Proving All His Views Belong in the Past

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, and his various views on life have such a poor reputation that even Quora users have a hard time taking them seriously.

Still, his most recent observation, that Jats and Punjabis were “less brainy” than other Indian communities, is standing out for its sheer tone-deafness.

The CM made the comment during a recent speech, 50 seconds of which was posted on Twitter by Congressman Randeep Singh Surjewala, who demanded an apology.

“Haryana’s Jats lack brains but are brawny. They can’t match Bengalis in brains. Bengalis are known all over India for being intelligent,” is heard saying in the clip that soon became a conversation point on Twitter.

The chief minister later apologised for his speech, even as the International Jat Mahasabha called for his resignation.

More keen political observers were quick to point out, however, that this was not the chief minister’s first faux pas.

After he took over as chief minister of Tripura in 2018, Deb gave the world his first unpopular opinion — that beauty pageants were a result of the “international marketing mafia”. His target was 1997 Miss World Diana Hayden, who he thought wasn’t worthy of the title because he didn’t find “traits of Indian beauty” in her.

A few days later, he showcased his range of expertise, by claiming that Internet and satellite communication had existed in the days of Mahabharata, and was used by the mythical king Dhritarashtra to see through his charioteer Sanjaya’s eyes.

His advice to the aspirational youth of his state, later that same month, was even more bizarre. Biplab Kumar Deb was quoted as saying, again in April 2018, that students should avoid chasing government jobs and instead consider opening paan shops or raising cows.

That way, he said, they would have had at least Rs 5 lakh in their bank accounts.

At this point, anything the chief minister says will have to be taken with a pinch of salt. But with a number of groups now calling for his resignation, chances are he won’t get away with just some light trolling this time.