Agartala, March 9: Veteran communist leader Manik Sarkar has always set new examples for our political class, infamous for indulging in lavish lifestyle at the cost of taxpayers' money. On Thursday, the outgoing chief minister of Tripura vacated his official bungalow in Agartala, the state capital, and shifted to his new "home"--the one-room guest quarter on the top floor of the three-storey Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) state committee office, Dasharath Dev Bhavan, located at Melarmath. From now onwards, the 69-year-old veteran communist leader, known to be India's honest CM, and his wife Panchali Bhattacharjee, a retired bank employee, will be staying in the one-room accommodation. The couple has no children.
From staying in the seven-room, the two-storey official residence of the CM on Marx-Engels Sarani in Agartala for the last 20 years, the four-time CM of the state has shifted to a "home" where there is no kitchen. Sarkar and his wife will eat food from the canteen housed inside the CPI-M state committee office.
"He would be moving in to the party office in a few hours. Sarkar would be living in one room of the party office guest house with his wife Panchali Bhattacharya," CPI-M state party secretary Bijan Dhar told reporters just hours before Sarkar and his wife shifted to their new "home". CPI-M office secretary Haripada Das said the veteran leader had said that he would "eat what is cooked in the party office kitchen".
"He has already sent packets of books and clothes and some CDs to the party office. Sarkar might shift to a government quarter if he is allocated one by the new government," Das said. Sarkar's wife had earlier told that she would be donating Marxist literature and books to the party office library and the Birchandra Central library in Agartala.
Sarkar was the CM of Tripura for the last 20 years. His successor is 49-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Biplab Kumar Deb, who will take oath as the CM of the northeastern state on Friday.
In the Tripura Assembly elections 2018, the results of which were announced on March 3, the BJP and its alliance partner, Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), won 43 seats, out of which the saffron party got 35 seats. The previous ruling party, CPI-M, managed to get just 16 seats.
It is for the first time that the BJP has won an Assembly election in Tripura. The handsome victory registered by the BJP is being termed as the win of the right over the left. With the election loss in Tripura, communist parties have been almost diminished from the country. Tripura was one of the last two bastions of the left in India (the second one being Kerala where the left is in power).
On Thursday, Deb personally met and invited Sarkar to attend his swearing-in ceremony on Friday which will see top national BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.