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For Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, the tag of being the "poorest chief minister in India" comes not a bit embarrassing, but rather he is appreciative of it.
"I enjoy reading these reports that describe my economic status. When people talk about this, I really enjoy,"Sarkar said
Sarkar's personal property, movable and immovable, is valued at less than Rs 2.5 lakh - an amount woefully shy of the multi-crore rupees worth of property some of the country's chief minister possess.
As per the affidavit submitted by the Tripura chief minister, a post Sarkar holds for four consecutive terms, during filing of nomination for the Dhanpur constituency in the last Assembly election in January, he had Rs 1,080 cash in hand.
His bank balance stood at just Rs 9,720, as per the affidavit.
Asked how he is leading such a clean and austere life ata time when corruption has become almost the order of the day among politicians, Sarkar said, "The credit of all this goes to my party. The party has imbibed this culture in me."
The CPI(M) politburo member said, "If I do not maintain that, then it will be an erosion inside me and the fall will start."
Sarkar is the longest serving Chief Minister of Tripura. He took over the reins of power in the tiny landlocked Northeastern state hemmed in by Bangladesh in 1998.
Asked what was the secret of his popularity is in the state, Sarkar said, "We do not keep any secret from the people - that is our secret. We are transparent."
"We do not make any promise which we cannot fulfil. We make only those promises which we can fulfil. If we try to fulfil people's expectations, they will obviously then elect us."
According to the affidavit, the 64-year-old politician inherited a house measuring just 432 square feet with a tin-shed structure from his mother Anjali Sarkar.