Dhanpur: Manik Sarkar is set to make history when he is sworn in as Tripura's Chief Minister for a fourth successive term. The Left celebrated election victory in Tripura and their man of the moment is Manik Sarkar winning an unprecedented fourth term.
Manik is also India's poorest Chief Minister. His declared assets mention inherited property worth Rs 2.5 lakhs and less than Rs 10,000 rupees in a bank. CPI-M supporter Anjali Das said, "Manik Sarkar is like a God for us and our children."
The 64-year-old donates his entire chief minister's salary to the CPM, managing on a Rs 5000 rupee allowance from the Party. Manik said, "In our state there is no secret, no mystery. We conceal nothing from the people. If we face any problem to implement any programme related to people's benefit, we immediately take all these things to the people telling all these things to them without concealing anything."
North East Affairs expert Subir Bhaumik said, "Tripura is the least corrupt government in the Northeast where governments are famous for corruption. The lifestyle of the Chief Minister and senior party colleagues give people a lot of faith in senior leadership of Marxists in Tripura - that these are people who are not corrupt, not making money, not buying property elsewhere, not into all these things.
Through his campaign, Manik Sarkar stuck to the basics - underlining his achievements, making only measured promises to ensure the Left does not lose like it did in Bengal. Another CPI-M supporter Sarajit Sinha said, "There is a difference between West Bengal and Tripura. Here we are united, so the Left will not lose here."
The Opposition argues that inspite of his honest image, Manik is handicapped by an outdated ideology and may fail to address changing aspirations. Congress General Secretary Pradyot Burman said, "While Manikbabu is a very honest man and clean man, the party is not progressive. Students are now travelling to Bangalore, Delhi, Shillong. They see the change outside the state and they want it here. Left rule has been largely peaceful but not pro development.'
But with an overwhelming 50 out of a total 60 assembly seats going to the Left, the cadres at India's last red bastion can afford to celebrate.