The 69-year-old Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Politburo member donates his entire salary to the CPI(M). In his nomination papers seeking re-election from Dhanpur constituency for the February 18 assembly polls, Mr Sarkar declared about 0.0118 acres of land in Krishnanagar that he jointly owns with his sister. The chief minister doesn't have a personal car, home, or any other assets. He has never filed any income tax return, states the election affidavit submitted by him.
Mr Sarkar has managed without a cellphone. He doesn't have an email account and isn't active on social media.
"Manik da, as per the party's tradition, donates his entire salary of Rs 26,315 as the chief minister to the CPI-M fund and receives a monthly allowance of Rs 9,700 from the party for his livelihood," CPI-M leader Haripada Das told news agency IANS.
According to the affidavit, Mr Sarkar's wife, Panchali Bhattacharjee, a retired central government officer, also has Rs 20,140 cash and Rs 12,15,714 in her bank accounts and fixed deposits. She, too, has inherited an immovable asset (a building) worth Rs 21 lakh and 20 grams of gold jewellery valued at Rs 60,000.
She never uses the government car and travels in public transport, said Mr Das. The couple don't have any children or dependents.
Their austere lifestyle has been appreciated not just by their supporters, but the opposition parties as well.
"A bachelor, Nripen da had left the Chief Minister's official residence in 1988 with a small tin box containing his belongings and some books and he lived in a small MLA's hostel room till his last breath on December 25, 2004," said Mr Dey, a former legislator.
Mr Sarkar is among key political figures in Tripura, which has been ruled by the Left Front since 1978 with a five-year break between 1988 and 1993, when the Congress and its tribal party ally Tripura Upajati Juba Samity were in power.
In the election fray since 1981, Mr Sarkar has been elected to the state assembly six times -- 1981 (by-polls), 1983, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013 -- and is seeking re-election for the fifth consecutive time.
(With inputs from IANS)
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