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When Tirath Singh Rawat made the US colonisers of India & ripped jeans trend

Uttarakhand's new CM Tirath Singh Rawat hasn't even finished a month yet in his current post, but he's already making headlines, for not the best reasons.

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New Delhi: Within two weeks of taking over as Uttarakhand chief minister, Tirath Singh Rawat made news not for his governance but for his controversial comments.

Last Thursday, the chief minister had expressed his shock over seeing young people, especially women, dressed in ripped jeans. Terming it as a strange fashion trend, Rawat asked about the kind of values such people would pass on to their children.

His comments were met with widespread condemnation, and branded as “derogatory”, “distasteful” and misogynistic by members of opposition parties. Rawat later apologised, but several well-known political cartoonists had already taken the opportunity to lampoon him for his opinion on women’s fashion.

Also read: Ripped jeans aren’t just fashion for Indian women. No wonder CM Rawat is worried

Tirath Singh’s many hits

The “ripped jeans” remark, though, isn’t an anomaly when it comes to public statements made by Tirath Singh Rawat after he succeeded Trivendra Singh Rawat as Uttarakhand CM on 10 March.

In Nainital’s Ramnagar Sunday, Rawat commented on India’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that the country is “doing better” when compared to others, and singled out the United States of America as an example. Rawat also went on to name the US, instead of the UK, as the country that previously “enslaved us for 200 years and ruled the world”, but “is struggling in current times”.

The new CM had also broadcast his views on poverty in his state. Speaking on the central government’s pandemic ration scheme during the same event in Ramnagar, Rawat asked poor families why they did not have 20 children in order to receive a quintal of food grains, instead of just 10kg for two children.

His statements did not receive the extent of attention and furore that his “ripped jeans” remarks did nor did the news that he tested positive for Covid-19 Monday. Some opposition party members, though, picked up on it. Such as Congress party’s Chhattisgarh in-charge and former Rajya Sabha MP, Panna Lal Punia.

Rise from BJP youth wing to Uttarakhand CM

Before becoming chief minister, Tirath Singh was a Lok Sabha MP from Garhwal, elected in May 2019.

Considered a “mild-mannered” politician, Rawat was a member of the BJP’s youth wing in Uttar Pradesh before becoming Uttarakhand’s first education minister in November 2000, when the state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh and was called Uttaranchal.

In 2007, he was appointed the state’s BJP unit general secretary and also served as the chairman of the state’s Natural Disaster Management Advisory Committee.

Five years later, his career as an MLA began when he won the Chaubattakhal constituency in the Uttarakhand assembly election. He served a single term and in 2017, was appointed as BJP’s national secretary by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)

Also read: Yet another CM falls in Uttarakhand — what it tells us about BJP high command’s politics


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  1. Such controversies are good for the Nation

    I was, for a long time, under the impression that these manufactured “controversies” like the ripples caused by “ripped jeans” served no purpose. In the last one week I counted more than ten articles on the subject in The Print itself. I do not read other publications for a variety of reasons though I am aware there are hundreds such sites which may have aired views on this most successful piece of clothing ever, invented in the eighteenth century in a remote town in the US and used the then costly indigo imported from India to colour it the Denim Blue! Please note the Indian contribution.

    I am veering from the main point. Such inconsequential events do serve a larger purpose. They generate livelihood for a major part of the media, including experts, journalists (veterans and novice), NGOs, activists and the support people like service internet service providers, computer related hardware manufactures, and dealers, printers and publishers. They provide opportunities for budding politicians to make their presence felt in the furtherance of their careers. They also keep people like me, totally unoccupied otherwise, fully entertained.

    Tail piece: I am now fully convinced that controversies create jobs, improve industrial production, add to service industry output and are generally good for the economy. I root for more such controversies – more the better.

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