From ‘ripped jeans’ to ‘America enslaved India’: A look at Tirath Rawat’s jarring remarks as Uttarakhand CM

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Tirath Singh Rawat, Uttarakhand chief minister, Tirath Singh Rawat ripped jeans, ripped jeans comment, Uttarakhand newsUttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat. (Photo: Twitter/Tirath Singh Rawat)

It has been a fortnight since Tirath Singh Rawat took oath as Uttarakhand Chief Minister and it was not without controversies. His statements have evoked sharp reactions from several quarters, including his own party. Commenting on Rawat’s controversial remarks, a party leader said: “I feel fortunate that he did not say anything like those in one programme where I was present.”

Here’s a list of controversial remarks that Rawat made after he assumed charge as CM.

—On March 14, Rawat in an event in Haridwar compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lord Rama and Krishna and said that Modi will be admired like Ram and Krishna in the future. He further said that in modern time, world leaders queue up for their turn to get a photo clicked with Modi unlike previously when Indian PM and President had been standing away and could not move around. “This is because of Modiji…I often say that Ram and Krishna were in Dwapar and Treta yuga and Ram too had worked for the society so he was admired as a god. In the coming time, we will admire Narendra Modi in the same form because such a work Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing in the country,” Rawat said.

—Two days later, during a workshop organised by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Rawat contended that women wearing ripped jeans send the wrong message to society and children. Expressing his indignation, Rawat described in detail the attire of a woman who had once travelled in a flight on the seat next to his, before going on to question her values. “Jab unki taraf dekha to neeche gumboot they, jab aur upar dekha to ghutne fatey they, haath dekhe to kai kade they… Bachhey do saath me unke they. Maine kaha behan ji kahan jana hai… Delhi jana hai, husband kahan hai… JNU me professor hain, tum kya karti ho… main ek NGO chalati hun. NGO chalati hain, ghutne fatey dikhte hain, samaj ke beech me jaati ho, bachhey saath me hain, kya sanskar dogi? (She was wearing boots, jeans ripped on the knees, and several bracelets. She had two children travelling with her. Her husband is a professor in JNU. You run an NGO, wear jeans ripped at the knees, move about in society, children are with you, what values you will teach?),” he had said. Facing uproar over his remarks, Rawat had to apologies later.

—In Nainital on March 21, Rawat said that people with fewer “units (family members)” had ended up getting less government rations during the Covid-19 lockdown as compared to those who “reproduced 20”, creating “jealousy”, saying it was their fault for not reproducing enough. Saying that difference in allocation of rations between families had created “jalan (jealousy)”, Rawat had remarked, “…that I have got two family members, so got 10 kg, those with 20 units have got a quintal. But whose fault is that? One who reproduced 20 got a quintal, you reproduced only two. Why jealously on that? When there was time, you reproduced only two, why not 20)?”

—In the same event in Nainital, Rawat praised PM Modi’s efforts in tackling Covid-19, compared it to America’s, which he said had “enslaved” India for “200 years”. The entire speech, which was shown live on Rawat’s personal Facebook account, was later taken down. But the damage was already done as the Opposition had started questioning CM’s remark related to Indian history.

—When other states were exploring containment measures following a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases, CM Rawat insisted that the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar should be “open for all”. When officers cited the Centre’s guidelines, Tirath said he would answer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda on this, as he had revealed that in a BJP workers meeting. In his third Haridwar visit as CM on March 20, Rawat said that his government has completely removed ‘rok tok’ (impediments) for attending the Kumbh Mela. However, he maintained that Covid-19 guidelines should be followed. The next morning, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary asking the state government to step up testing and ensure adequate critical care facilities during the ongoing Kumbh Mela. Rawat subsequently was tested Covid-19 positive on Monday. Rawat had earlier indicated that condition of mandatory RT-PCR negative report would be done away with. However, authorities clarified that RT-PCR report will be mandatory, no relaxation will be given in guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

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