Away from fanfare, Tripura CM’s wife shows the way in simplicity

  • Sanjoy Dey, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2015 16:06 IST
Panchali Bhattacharya (in saree) at Digambar Jain Bhawan in Ranchi on Friday. (Diwakar Prasad/HT photo)

No one would believe in Jharkhand that a chief minister’s wife goes around without security, prefers to travel in sleeper class in trains, dislikes special treatment at political functions and stands in queue with other people at lunch or dinner parties.

Four-time Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar’s wife Panchali does so, as was evident at the four-day general council meeting of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) that began in Ranchi on Thursday.

She came to Ranchi from Kolkata in a sleeper class in train, sat with general workers without security cover in the CITU meeting and chose to stand in queue at the lunch organised for the workers.

She said: “I had to take a flight from Tripura to Kolkata as there were no trains. Had there been a train, I wouldn’t have taken the flight.”

Panchali’s husband Manik Sarkar is considered to be India’s first chief minister who doesn’t own a home, a car or a bank balance worth mentioning. Even his wife is often seen in rickshaws in Agartala without security, said CITU members attending the function in Ranchi.

“The VIP culture should end in states as well as at the Centre as it troubles the common man,” said Panchali.

It was a surprise for the people in Jharkhand where the CM, former CMs and even wives of cabinet ministers enjoy security cover.

Concerned over rising corruption, Panchali said there should be transparency in governance.

Referring to safety and security for women, Panchali, a former employee of the Central Social Welfare Board, said: “Even after 17-18 months of new government at the Centre, nothing much has been done for the common man.”

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