Agartala, Feb 1: Marxist leader Manik Sarkar, who has been guiding the destiny of Tripura for 20 long years, remains arguably India’s poorest Chief Minister, with a paltry Rs 1,520 cash in hand and Rs 2,410 in a bank account.
In an affidavit submitted earlier this week with his nomition papers seeking re-election from his Dhanpur constituency for the February 18 assembly polls, the 69-year-old Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Politburo member declared his assets, including bank balance and immovable assets.
He possesses inherited land measuring 0.0118 acres in Krishgar, on the outskirts of this capital city, jointly with his lone sister.
Tripura’s longest-serving Chief Minister (since 1998) does not have a persol car, any investments or assets; nor does he have a mobile phone or an email account and is not active on social media.
Vehemently against the use of a red beacon on his official car, Sarkar’s current bank balance of Rs 2,410 as of January 20 is considerably less than the Rs 9,720 he had in his account ahead of the 2013 assembly elections.
“Manik-da, as per the party’s tradition, dotes his entire salary of Rs 26,315 as Chief Minister to the CPI-M fund. In turn, he receives a monthly allowance of Rs 9,700 from the party for his livelihood,” CPI-M leader Haripada Das said.
“We follow Manik-da’s simple lifestyle. His favorite tiffin (meal) is ‘muri’ (puffed rice). His wife, Panchali Bhattacharjee, never uses the government car and travels in rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and public transport in most cases,” said Das, who maintains the official records of the Tripura CPI-M.
According to Sarkar’s affidavit, his wife, a retired central government officer, has Rs 20,140 cash in hand and Rs 12,15,714 in her bank accounts and fixed deposits. Bhattacharjee too has inherited an immovable asset (a building) with a market value of Rs 21 lakh and 20 grams jewellery valued at Rs 60,000.
Sarkar and his wife live in the official residence of the Chief Minister here. They have no children or dependent.
Opposition parties also occasiolly appreciate Sarkar’s simple lifestyle.
Praising Sarkar’s plain way of life, Tripura Pradesh Congress vice president Tapas Dey said that India’s genuinely poorest Chief Minister was veteran Marxist leader Nripen Chakraborty, who governed the northeastern state for 10 years (1978-1988).