Tripura CM's 'Miss World' comment flooded with criticism

Tripura CM's 'Miss World' comment flooded with criticism

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb's comment that international beauty contests are a farce, and the crowning of Diana Hayden as "Miss World-1997" was questionable, drew criticism on Friday from various quarters including beauty pageant contestants, social workers and his political opponents.

Close on the heels of his "Internet and satellite during the times of Mahabharata" comment, the BJP leader veered into another controversy with his remarks on Diana Hayden.

Deb, however, was all praise for Aishwarya Rai, who won the Miss World crown in 1994, saying she "represents Indian women" in the true sense.

Panchali Bhattacharjee, a social worker and wife of the former chief minister of Tripura Manik Sarkar, said Deb's comments were "unexpected".

"Beauty pageant winners work very hard. It is not right to demean them in any way. Besides, we do not see women in any stereotypical manner. They should have the freedom to express themselves as Laxmi, Saraswati or otherwise," she added.

Femina Miss India contestant from Tripura Mamita Debbarma said, "It is a shame that our chief minister is making such comments."

"The governments of other states felicitate and promote those who win these accolades. This comment is very unfortunate", she added.

State Congress vice president and social worker Basana Debnath said, "Diana Hayden is an Indian woman and I think our chief minister's comment has no value. It is uncalled for and does not suit a politician.

"In our country, a three-year girl is raped, but there is hardly any voice against it. I ask, why would people like Asaram and Ram Rahim not be hanged? Nobody is vocal about this. I want a comment from our chief minister."

Fulan Bhattacharya, social worker and Mayor in Council of the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC), run by the CPI(M), was also critical of Deb's comments.

"This is none of his business. I am completely against stereotyping Indian beauty as goddess Laxmi and Saraswati. This is an old and retrogressive thought process, like that of a fundamentalist. The rest of the country is laughing at our chief minister's comment and we are also ashamed," she said.

Speaking at a design workshop on Thursday, Deb had further claimed that beauty pageant organisers were the international marketing mafia, who spotted a huge market in India.

His comments came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned the BJP leaders to steer clear of controversies and not offer "masala" to the media by making irresponsible statements.

Earlier this month, Deb, an arts graduate, had claimed that Internet and satellite communication existed in the days of Mahabharata, which had drawn criticism from Twitterati, intellectuals and his political adversaries.

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