Gym instructor-turned Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb’s meteoric rise in politics has much to do with his link to the Rashtriya Sawaymsewak Sangh (RSS). Straight out of the fold of Sangh Parivar Deb occupied the political hot seat. Within months of taking over as the Chief Minister of Tripura Deb has proved that he is a political greenhorn. With a series of unworldly and unwarranted comments related to science and women Deb has given a signal that he is in the political domain mainly to further the cause of his ideological mentor – the RSS. For him governance comes next. What do his comments about internet, Miss Universe and his political rivals smack of? The BJP swept power in Tripura riding on the hope of millions of voters that the party will end the 25-year-rule by the Left in the State. Millions of unemployed youths voted for the saffron party on the hope that the new dispensation will create much needed job avenues for them, develop infrastructure, implement the Seventh Pay Commission and bring about overall development in the State. However, the situation does not seem to turn out that way. Within months of assuming office the youngest Chief Minister in India has proved it beyond doubt that he is not one who can live up to the expectations of many who voted him and his party to power in Tripura. They say morning shows the day. In Deb’s case his irrational utterances in public give an indication that as a devout RSS member he is laden with a lot of extra baggage of his ideological mentor. This does not augur well when it comes to governance.
Sample a few of his statements – ‘Sanjaya (the charioteer of king Dhritarashtra) had used a sophisticated communication technology to give a detailed account of the battle of Kurukshetra to the sightless king’. Deb has said that the Europeans and the Americans may claim internet to be their invention, however, the fact remains that ‘internet technology and satellite system existed in India lakhs of years ago’. Within weeks the Chief Minister has made another statement that he does not see the beauty of Diana Hayden and fails to understand the ‘process of judging winners’. Saying that Indian women are like Goddess Laxmi or Saraswati, he has criticized Diana Hayden as she does not look like a Goddess.
The Chief Minister’s out-of-the-world statements are a major embarrassment for the tech-savvy BJP as it has become a laughing stock across the country. Deb’s statements on internet and connectivity are definitely a matter of serious concern because Agartala is an important hub of India’s future connectivity with the information superhighway. India imports 10 GB internet bandwidth from an internet port in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
Deb’s ascendency in politics of Tripura is mainly due to three factors – his organizational skill, closeness to the RSS and his blood and tongue in a Bengali-dominant State. But all these edges may evaporate in the thin air if he does not mend his way and concentrate on governance for which he has been voted to power. Notably, Deb has replaced Manik Sarkar, whose knowledge of subject is beyond question. This is the reason why Sarkar gets respect from all. With his repeated ‘wrong’ public utterances Deb has given an impression that probably he is not well-versed on the subject he is speaking on. During the past one month, he claimed that Amazon is in Africa, and even said that Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang was a journalist. If the young Chief Minister is doing it intentionally as many of his ilk are doing to remain relevant in public discourse than he is surely doing a great ‘disservice’ to the chief minister’s chair. Governance should be the first thing in the mind of a chief minister in a landlocked State like Tripura which is crying for development. He should lie low and concentrate on his core job rather than wasting his time in teaching the world about who invented internet, who should be the Miss World, and so on and so forth.