- "Think before you speak," Diana Hayden said after BJP leader's remark
- Late on Friday evening, the chief minister said he regretted his comment
- Biplab Deb said he didn't want to hurt or humiliate anyone
Late on Friday evening, the Chief Minister said he regretted his comment and meant no disrespect to women. He had, speaking at a public event this week, had gone back two decades to single out Diana Hayden to target the fashion industry and what he described as "international fashion mafias".
"Even Dayna Hayden got it (the world title). See, everyone is laughing. Tell me, was Diana Hayden supposed to get it? Aishwarya Rai got it. That's justified, because she carries the essence of the beauty of Indian women," he had said. It was seen as a reference to her complexion.
Ms Hayden said she was okay with anyone, even Mr Deb, thinking that she did not deserve the title because everyone has their opinion.
"But what gets to me is that this comes down to skin colour," she told NDTV minutes before the Chief Minister said he regretted the remarks and didn't want to hurt or humiliate anyone.
Ms Hayden said she is proud of her exotic brown skin colour but she did once "lack self-confidence to an unbelievable level because I am brown-skinned".
She said Indians should be proud of their skin colour. "It is beautiful and the rest of the world wants our colour," she told NDTV.
The 44-year-old said she loved the fact how people spoke up against Biplab Deb's comments because they should. "It is outrageous and it is something to be upset about," she said.
Panchali Bhattacharjee, social worker and wife of former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar, found the Chief Minister's comments demeaning.
"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 said, according to news agency Press Trust of India. "It is a shame that our chief minister is making such comments".