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Feb 13, 2018 05:01 PM IST | Source:

India's 'poorest chief minister' Manik Sarkar faces the toughest battle in his life

Manik Sarkar, the 9th consecutive Chief Minister of Tripura, continues to be India's poorest chief minister.

Manik Sarkar, the Chief Minister of Tripura, is India's poorest chief minister, according to a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Monday.

Sarkar is the longest serving chief minister of Tripura after being appointed in 1998. Sarkar, however, is now facing the toughest battle of his political career as the BJP is making a serious bid to remove the Left Front government in Tripura, which has been in power for the past 25 years.

On Monday, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath accused the CPI (M)-led Left Front government in Tripura of depriving the people of "basic amenities".

Also read — Yogi Adityanath calls for Left Front govt's ouster in Tripura

"The people of Tripura are being deprived of the basic amenities. The communist government here does not provide the poor people with any opportunity to be self-reliant. Why should the people keep them for such a long period in power? The Marxists must be ousted," the BJP leader told an election rally here in North Tripura district.

He also slammed the Left Front government for its "poor governance" and alleged that the common people of the state, who were not associated with the ruling party, were being deprived of the benefits of the Prime Minister Awas Yojana.

BJP chief Amit Shah had earlier also expressed confidence that BJP will form the next government in Tripura. The BJP is contesting polls in alliance with the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT).

Several media reports have also pointed to the long tenure of the Left Front government and pointed to the anti-incumbency factor.

Often regarded as the 'Most Honest' and 'Most Clean' chief minister, Sarkar holds assets worth Rs 26 lakh, including both movable and non-moveable assets. Even in the 2013 ADR report, the 69-year-old was listed as the poorest chief minister of India, thereby, strengthening his perception of being the least corrupt politician.

ADR and National Election Watch (NEW) have analysed the self-sworn latest affidavits of current chief ministers (CMs) in state assemblies and Union territories across the nation.

Sarkar, an actor-turned-politician from Dhanpur, was exposed to politics in his college at the young age of 19 in 1968. His initial experiences led him to be appointed as the general secretary of the Students' Federation of India at the Maharaja Bir Bikram College.

Also read — India has 35% chief ministers with criminal cases: ADR

At the age of 23, Manik Sarkar joined the State Committee of the CPI(M) in 1972. Six years down the line, in 1978, Sarkar was inducted into the party secretariat when the Communist Party got a chance to rule a government in Tripura for the very first time.

When the party rose to power in 1993, Manik Sarkar became the State Secretary of the CPI (M) considering his performance and expertise. Within a few years, Sarkar became a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1998.

Sarkar enjoys a distinguished reputation as a Chief Minister in his home town as he lives a simple life, does not own a house or a car of his own as well as does not have any personal security guards.

According to reports, even his critics hail him as a corruption-free figure. According to his affidavit filed for the 2013 Tripura Assembly elections, Manik Sarkar’s bank deposits amounted to a maximum of Rs 16,120.

Sarkar was born in a middle-class family in Radhakishorepur. His mother, Anjali Sarkar, was a government employee in Tripura while his father, Amulya Sarkar, was a tailor.

The Sarkars have no children and they live in a government accommodation provided by the state at the official chief minister’s quarter in Agartala.

According to his election declaration, his wife Panchali Bhattacharjee, a retired state government employee has Rs 20,140 cash in hand. Bhattacharjee has a total of Rs 12,15,714.78 in her bank accounts.

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