Bangalore: When politics is the tune that’s playing, one can’t help but notice the colossal taint in it, spoilt by corruption, mistrust, and lacking the most is faith. Can anyone defend its virtue, can’t say. But the virtue of a noble politician stands tall by the name of Manik Sarkar, Tripura’s Chief Minister.
When he was asked about making a living on this trivial amount, he said that his wife’s pension is enough to sustain both of them. Even the idea of finding a new accommodation if asked to vacate the state house provided to the Chief Minister seems just manageable. All he says “we’ll see”.
He further informs that his expenses are small like a packet of snuff and a Charminar cigarette a day. For breakfast he has rasmalai and cashewnuts, while the music of Bhimsen Joshi, his favourite vocalist plays on the system in the bedroom, as reported by Kaushik Deka for India Today.
At sharp 10 a.m. the official vehicle picks him up, which is off limits even to his wife, Panchali Bhattacharya, a former employee of the Central Social Welfare Board. Bhattacharya retired last year from her services and now mostly commutes by rickshaw in Agartala, with no secuShe has never intervened in the Chief Ministers work, just once, very subtly 7 years ago, on his idea of going on morning walks on the streets of Agartala. His security officer who almost flipped asked Panchali didi to talk him out of it. And so she did by buying him a treadmill.
The CM practicing honesty is seen in the decision of Left Front's strategy for the February 2013 Assembly polls. At 63 he is the Tripura's longest-serving chief minister. He still believes the Left final frontier will return in West Bengal and Kerala. Not leaving Tripura as the final Left's frontier, as they received 41 percent of the votes in last polls in West Bengal. Does it mean there is a striving chance for good faith or just a surviving one?
At present Sarkar has to prepare for a difficult task of tackling the resurgent Congress headed by its new state President Sudip Roy Barman, 48, the son of former chief minister Samir Roy Barma, is sour about the lack of jobs situation in Left Front rule. He said “Over 40,000 posts are lying vacant in the state. No primary teacher has been appointed in 14 years of his rule”. On Sudip’s concern, Sarkar’s wife retaliates and said "Unemployment is Tripura's biggest problem. But it is not only our problem, it's India's” as per India Today.
Sudip has questioned Sarkar’s honesty saying it’s just a projection. He wants to know how Sarkar can afford an Ora spectacle worth Rs 60,000 or sandals for Rs 6,000, also the hundreds of white kurta-pyjama sets. Well how Sudip managed to estimate these figures are unknown, off course. He goes further with the attempts to reveal how Sarkar controls the ministers by blackmailing them after letting them involve in corruption. This way he erases most threat or challenges to his post.About the job situation Sarkar holds the Center responsible for not creating policies to generate jobs majorly in the rural areas. And with the corruption acquisition imposed by the Opposition which he has asked them to produce evidence and names, and is adamant to take action if required. He agrees the ministers have been inefficient but not dishonest.
Sarkar has his ways to play politics, as revealed by an anonymous source, a professor from Tripura University, who said "He may be an honest person, but Sarkar is a ruthless politician. If he feels threatened by anyone, their wings are clipped. Yet, the Congress has little chance to dethrone him, thanks to its internal rivalries."
Explaining himself the Chief Minister said "Where is the power? It's with the Centre. Small states like Tripura suffer. We have to fight for everything that is rightfully ours."
He does make a remark at the end. He said "My spectacles cost Rs 1,800. My sandals are also cheap. I love to look neat, but that doesn't mean I buy expensive stuff”. Giving the details of the amount of decadence he is said to be indulged in, the Tripura Chief Minister has hopefully cleared certain doubts. But there will be those who will question his conscience as long as he is in the political game.
Is it a mindset that politicians can barely be as clean and neat as the white attire they don, or stay true to the motto they herald? Manik Sarkar has maintained the integrity and honesty which is hard to come by in politics and that’s the emblem the country salutes to, and aspires for. But will there be more like him or is he the last of his kind, let’s hope not.