Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Friday said that he regretted his remarks questioning the crowning of Diana Hayden as “Miss World” in 1997 and alleging that international beauty contests were a farce.

“I was talking about how the handlooms of the state could be marketed well. If anybody is hurt or feeling defamed, I regret for this… I respect all women as my mother,” he told reporters.

After kicking up a storm by saying that Internet existed in the Mahabharata era, Deb landed himself in a fresh controversy when he questioned the rationale behind Hayden’s win 21 years ago.

“Whoever participated in the pageants won. We won the Miss World/Miss Universe titles for five consecutive years. Diana Hayden won it too. Do you think she should have won the title?” Deb reportedly said at an event in Agartala on Thursday raising his doubt on the “process of judgement”.

While Deb questioned Hayden’s crowning, he was all praise for Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, who won the Miss World crown in 1994, saying she “represents the Indian women in the true sense”.

“We see women as goddess Laxmi and Saraswati. Aishwarya Rai represents the Indian woman. She became the Miss World and that’s all right. But I do not understand the beauty of Diana Hayden,” Deb had said.

Reacting to his comments, Daina said that she is proud of her exotic brown skin colour as she slammed the thought that ‘light skin is better’.