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.
According to the affidavit submitted by him, Manik has Rs 1,520 cash in hand and Rs 2,410 deposits in his account in a nationalised bank. He does not have any other bank deposits and has never filed an income tax return. During the last elections in 2013, he had 9,720 in his bank account which is significantly more.
“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 CPM.
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 in Agartala. They have no children or dependent.
The Veteran communist leader also claims to have a non-agricultural land measuring 0.0118 acres in Agartala, which is jointly owned with his siblings. These are his possessions after being in power for five consecutive terms.
He donates his entire salary of Rs 26,315 to the CPI(M) and receives Rs.5000 monthly from the party fund as subsistence allowances. The five-time Chief Minister of Tripura still does not carry a mobile phone. He may be facing a stiff challenge from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is very active on social media, yet he does not have any social media presence or an email account.
Tripura counterpart Manik Sarkar, a man of thrift means who even donates his salary to the party, has never had to face charges of corruption. Even his staunchest opponent has not been able to accuse him of corruption in the 20 years that he has been the Chief Minister.
In the election fray since 1981, Sarkar has been elected to the state assembly six times — 1981 (by-polls), 1983, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013 — and is seeking re-election from the Dhanpur assembly constituency for the fifth consecutive time.