Tripura Chief Minister Manik 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 yesterday for the coming assembly elections, he had Rs 1080 cash in hand and his bank balance stood at Rs 9720.
The CPI-M leader is aiming for a fourth consecutive term in the northeastern state.
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 of 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 her retirement benefit.
The couple has no movable property and the total value of immovable property and cash is Rs 24,52,395.
A state Committee member of the ruling CPI-M, Haripada Das, who looks after the accounts of the party said, like other party members, Sarkar donates his full salary and subsidiary allowances to the party and instead the party pays him Rs 5000 as subsistence allowances.
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."
Even his bitter critics do not blame him for any kind of corruptions.
In 2008, when Sarkar had submitted nominations along with an affidavit declaring his assets ahead of the February 23 Assembly Elections, it was found that he owned no home or car and his bank balance was Rs 13,920.
A non-smoker and teetotaller, Sarkar's critics and archrivals in the Congress and other opposition parties are also quite impressed by his personal integrity and honesty. “We have no doubt about his honesty, but most of Sarkar's fellow party leaders and workers are not honest,” said Tapas Dey, former legislator and Congress spokesman, in 2008.
Sarkar's wife also leads a simple life and prefers travelling in rickshaws. “If Sarkar and his wife take part in the same programme, the Chief Minister goes in his official vehicle while his wife travels in a rickshaw or an auto,” said an official of the Chief Minister's secretariat in 2008.