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Biplab Deb to attend CMs’ meet in Delhi tomorrow

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb will attend a meeting in New Delhi tomorrow on schemes to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, official sources said today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at the chief ministers’ meeting which will be chaired by President Ram Nath Kovind. Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) here said Deb had also been chosen as a member of a committee for the commemoration of Gandhi’s birth anniversary. He will leave for the national capital tomorrow.

Media reports had earlier claimed that Deb had been summoned to New Delhi by Prime Minister Modi for the chief minister’s controversial comments on issues such as beauty queens and pageants. Milind Ramtake, the additional secretary to the chief minister, said Deb’s visit to Delhi was “pre-scheduled”. He had earlier said the chief minister would attend two events during his three-day stay in Delhi. A letter from the PMO had informed the CMO that the first meeting of the full committee of chief ministers was scheduled to be held on May 2 at 5 PM. It appealed to all chief ministers to share their thoughts on spreading the Mahatma’s message.

“The committee is mandated to consider policies and lay down guidelines for the commemoration and decide on a timeframe for related activities,” the letter said.

Deb is also slated to attend a meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on May 4. The second meeting, to be attended by the chief ministers of the eight North-Eastern states, would focus on border problems, the sources added.

Last week, Deb had said international beauty contests were a farce and questioned the rationale behind Diana Hayden being crowned “Miss World” 21 years ago. He was all praise for Aishwarya Rai, who won the “Miss World” crown in 1994, and said she represented “Indian women”.

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