After 20 yrs, no home for Mr Sarkar
Agartala: The CPM headquarters here is outgoing Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar's new home.
Sarkar, 69, and his wife Panchali Bhattacharjee vacated the official residence of Tripura chief minister on Marx-Engels Sarani, which was their home for the last 20 years, at 4pm on Thursday and shifted to Dasharath Dev Bhavan in Melarmath, less than 1km from here, officer-on-special-duty for the outgoing chief minister Dinesh Sarkar said.
The family of two took several packets containing books, clothes and items of daily necessities. The couple will stay in a guestroom on the third floor of the CPM headquarters till the new government allots accommodation for Sarkar, the party's office secretary, Haripada Das, said.
"Packets containing books, lying at the party office, will be taken by Sarkar when he leaves for his new dwelling," Das said.
Bhattacharjee, who is a retired central government employee, said they had donated several books to the government-run Birchandra State Central Library here while other Marxist literature was given to the CPM's state office library. She owns a small flat in the Krishnanagar area here which she shares with her sisters. Sarkar, however, has declined to stay there.
He has been winning from Dhanpur Assembly constituency in Sonamura subdivision, 70km from here, since 1998. Earlier, he contested and won from Krishnanagar constituency here in a bypoll in 1980. He won for the second term from the same seat in 1983.
In the recently held Assembly elections, he won by 5,441 votes against BJP candidate Pratima Bhowmik, but the Left Front led by him faced a crushing defeat and was reduced from 51 MLAs to 16.
Though Sarkar is still the chief minister of the interim caretaker government that is handling state affairs till a new government under the BJP is sworn in at the Assam Rifles ground here on Friday, sources close to him said the veteran communist leader chose to vacate the chief minister's residence "gracefully".
Sarkar was born on January 22, 1949 at Radhakishorepur in Udaipur of Gomati district, 50km from here, in a middle class family. His mother Anjali was a government employee and his father Amulya a tailor.
Sarkar does not have any property attached to his name. He has less than Rs 4,000 in his bank account as per an affidavit filed to the Election Commission before the polls. He donates his entire salary as the chief minister to the CPM. He was given Rs 5,000 per month as allowance.
Manik Sarkar used to live in a seven-room and two-stories official residence of Chief Minister. He moved in a single-room guest quarter at the top floor of the three stories CPIM state committee office at Melarmath area here. His new living quarters don;t even have a kitchen as the party office's common kitchen handles all menu of guests.
He was entitled to Z plus security convoy which included an escort, a pilot and tailing vehicles. His residence was also under round-the-clock security. However, with the additional security cover scraped, Sarkar would now be entitled to normal security cover like any other MLA. However, if he is named opposition leader by the left legislative party, he might get additional security.
His wife Panchali Bhattacharjee, who has always travelled on a richskaw for shopping or other household chores, said life would not be different from a Chief Minister's wife and an ex-CM's wife.