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BJP MP’s model: Manik

Manik Sarkar

New Delhi, Aug. 7: When a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh hardliner terms a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist a “model”, it may be a tough question which side would squirm more.

That’s exactly what a BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh, Anil Madhav Dave, did today.

Dave, a swayamsevak, described Tripura’s CPM chief minister Manik Sarkar as a “model for any leader” during a discussion in Parliament on the working of the home ministry.

“Manik Sarkar is a model for any leader,” he said, referring to the veteran Marxist’s simple lifestyle and deep belief in local culture.

Dave looked around for Left MPs while he spoke. Only one of them, the CPM’s P. Rajeeve, was present.

“His (Sarkar’s) wife still travels in a rickshaw,” Dave said, extolling Sarkar’s simple lifestyle before drawing the inevitable comparison. “Just like our Prime Minister’s mother washes her own clothes.”

Sarkar, often called the “poorest chief minister of India”, had declared a sum of Rs 1,080 as cash in hand while filing his nomination for Dhanpur constituency in the Tripura Assembly elections last year.

At the crux of Dave’s compliment was Sarkar’s encouragement to the learning of Kok Borok, the indigenous language of the tribal population in Tripura.

The BJP MP said there was a specific reason why he had mentioned Sarkar while discussing the official languages department in the home ministry. He cited Sarkar’s encouragement of the use of Kok Borok even in land records, saying he saw it as an example of taking local culture and language down to the grassroots administration.