“America ruled India for 200 years,” Tirath Singh Rawat

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After coming into headlines about his controversial “ripped jeans” comment, the new Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat, is back with another — this time blaming the US for “200 years of rule in India”.

In a video of his speech, the Chief Minister can be heard saying “America, which enslaved us for 200 years and ruled the whole world, is struggling” to control the coronavirus pandemic.

He compared India with the US on number of COVID-19 cases. “As opposed to other countries, India is doing better in handling the pandemic. America, who enslaved us for 200 years and ruled the whole world… it is struggling at present.”

“The US is number one in the health sector and yet, they have over 50 lakh (Covid) deaths,” Mr Rawat added. “They are again heading towards a lockdown.”

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“Who knows what would have happened to India had anyone else been the prime minister instead of Narendra Modi during this time… we would have been in a bad state. But he (PM) gave us relief,” he said.

Mr Rawat added that PM Modi saved everyone, “but we didn’t follow his instructions. Wearing masks, sanitising, washing hands and social distancing — only some people followed.”

The Uttarakhand Chief Minister just earlier this week faced flak for his controversial comments on women wearing ripped jeans and how they cannot – he feels – provide the right environment at home for children. He said he was shocked to see a woman running an NGO in ripped jeans, and was concerned about the example she was setting for society.

“If this kind of woman goes out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to society, to our kids? It all starts at home. What we do, our kids follow. A child who is taught the right culture at home, no matter how modern he becomes, will never fail in life,” the Chief Minister had said.

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The comments, widely criticised as misogynistic, sent #RippedJeansTwitter trending on Twitter with thousands of people posting memes and jokes and taking shots at Mr Tirath’s remark.

Several politicians and actors had also denounced the comment, following which the chief minister apologised. But at the same time, he repeated his objection to ripped jeans, saying he has no problem with jeans but wearing “torn” ones is “not right”.