Tripura CM sends officials to escort monk at swearing-in ceremony

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Agartala, Mar 11 (UNI) The swearing-in ceremony of the sixth Left Front government in Tripura witnessed a unique and touching moment when Chief Minister Manik Sarkar sent his personal security officials to escort Prankrishna Goswami - a frail, Namabali-clad hermit - to Raj Bhawan.

Mr Goswami, a familiar face at all the important programmes of Mr Sarkar, was yesterday stopped at the Raj Bhawan gate by the guards as he had neither a pass nor an invitation.

Octogenarian Goswami, who never missed attending any programme where his favourite 'Manik babu' was present, stood crestfallen and almost on the verge of tears.

At this moment, Mr Sarkar's convoy entered the Raj Bhawan and the Chief Minister did not fail to notice him. Well aware of Mr Goswami's special affection for him, Mr Sarkar asked his men to bring him in. While the Chief Minister was swearing in, a glisten of a tear could be seen in the old monk's eyes. He was in fact sitting in a VIP row just behind the Ministers.

Mr Goswami belongs to the famous 'Prabhubarai' clan, once the all-powerful family that happened to be the gurus of the Tripura kings. Previously, Prankrishna Goswami worked in the West Bengal Transport Corporation. After retirement he came to his hometown and became a devout hermit, donning the customary white beard, tilak, Namabali and rudrakshas dangling from his frail body.

For the past ten years, he attended all the programmes of the Chief Minister - political rallies, blood donation camps, children's programmes - and he would always be spotted right in the first row for which he did not require any invitation at all.

''I am really happy to see Manik babu taking oath as Chief Minister. He is a gentleman. Lord Krishna bless him,'' the old man said, sporting a toothless smile.

Meanwhile, another pathbreaking event at yesterday's ceremony was the swearing-in of the lone female minister in the sixth Left Front Ministry Bijita Nath.

Ms Nath, about 40 years old, whose transition from domesticity to the hurly-burly of politics has been as sensational as her giant killing act in the elections, said, after being sworn in, that she was confident of doing justice to the role assigned to her.

She was elected from Kadamtala in Dharmanagar Sub Division, bordering the Barak Valley district of Karimganj in Assam, defeating sitting Congress member Jyotirmoy Nath.

She has been given the charge of the Social Education and Social Welfare department along with OBC Development in the Manik Sarkar-led 12-member Ministry.

CPI (M) Politbureau member and Parliamentarian Brinda Karat also attended the swearing-in function at Raj Bhawan along with her husband Prakash Karat.

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