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Tripura landslide: CM is India's poorest, donates salary

Last updated on: February 28, 2013 13:36 IST

Tripura landslide: CM is India's poorest, donates salary

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Communist Party of India-Marxist Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has led the Left Front to a successive fifth term in power in Tripura.

What is best known about Sarkar is that he is one of the poorest candidates in Tripura -- he lives on a salary of Rs 5,000 a month, which is paid to him from own his party and has no house of his own. What he earns as the chief minister, he gives to the party.

Sarkar can arguably be dubbed 'the cleanest and poorest' chief minister in the country with personal property, movable and immovable, valued at less than Rs 2.5 lakh.

According to the affidavit submitted by the 64-year-old Sarkar during filing of nomination in Dhanpur constituency for the upcoming assembly elections, he had Rs 1,080 cash in hand and his bank balance stood at Rs 9,720.

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Image: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar

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He inherited a home of 432 sq ft with a tin-shed house from his deceased mother Anjali Sarkar whose present market value was Rs 2,20,000.

However, his wife Panchali Bhattacharya, who is a retired officer of the Central government has a cash fixed deposit of Rs 23,58,380 and jewellery worth 20 gm of gold, the present market value of which is Rs 72,000. She has cash of Rs 22,015 in hand.

Her family sources said she had got the money as part of her retirement benefits. The couple has no movable property and the total value of immovable property and cash is Rs 24,52,395.

According to official sources, the chief minister's monthly salary is Rs 9,200 which, perhaps, is the lowest in the country. When contacted, State Party Secretary Bijan Dhar said, "I can only say that he has no leaning for increasing his own personal property. He has dedicated his entire life for the party and people."

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Image: A screenshot of the affidavit filed by the Tripura chief minister for the 2013 assembly election

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High-handedness by the central police forces and the army usually provides the spark for insurgency, which feeds on economic deprivation and becomes an alternative discourse. In Tripura, Sarkar couldn't dramatically alter the standard of living of the people because the tiny landlocked state attracted no industry, investment or development.

Because the paramilitary forces were kept in leash, Tripura has seen next to no human rights violations by police forces. Trite as it may sound, law and order combined with development, has yielded results in curbing insurgency. When you study Tripura, you realise how easy it can be.

D N Sahay, a policeman who was the governor of the state once, says the rest of India needs to learn how to control insurgency from Tripura. He also says Communist Tripura can never become Communist West Bengal. The most telling is Sarkar's own comment, "The electorate of West Bengal punished the Left Front government for its weaknesses and wrongdoings".

Even his bitter critics do not blame him for any kind of corruption.

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Image: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar
Photographs: Picture courtesy: cpim.org
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