Tripura in the north-east frontiers has been one of those few remaining communist bastions in the country. Incidentally, Tripura is also one of those states where BJP has made rapid inroads and growth too. The rise of the saffron party everywhere has been swift after Amit Shah was made the BJP president. It also has resulted in BJP making a foray into the north-eastern front and Tripura now is slowly coming into their kitty. In recent by polls, BJP was a runner up and it’s vote share has steadily increased to make it into a challenging opposition. In the next elections, BJP is aiming to make heavy inroads in Tripura at least even if they just fall short of forming a government.
The state of Tripura has been ruled by Sarkar since 1993 and hence anti-incumbency will be at its peak. In the midst of this scenario, the bursting of so many scams has taken the sheen away from Sarkar and provided renewed rich ammunition to the BJP to strike.
There have been at least a dozen scams and some which have harboured associates of Tripura CM Manik Sarkar. With the CBI closing in on interrogating the CM for Rose Valley scam, there are a dozen more frauds which may put curtains on the so called poor CM in Agartala. The following are the scams that have hit the Tripura govt and have wrecked the image of the benevolent CM.
1. Chit fund scam:
This is supposedly the biggest of them all. Already encompassing many states including West Bengal, the biggest embarrassment for Chief Minister Manik Sarkar was that he inaugurated the Rose Valley Park, set up by the Kolkata-based chit fund company – Rose Valley. He not only praised the founder, but also has been accused of giving land to the company at subsidized prices and galloping land from the tribals. Bijita Nath, the lone woman minister in Sarkar cabinet and half a dozen MLAs were directly involved in the businesses of Rose Valley. As the BJP is trying to gherao Mamata in Bengal over the same, this scam will be the centre of BJP’s campaign to oust Sarkar in 2018.
2. Bishalgarh roadblock scam:
Bimal Chakraborty who was the block development officer is reported to have been involved in misappropriation of funds meant for public works. The internal audit has pegged the figure at Rs 2, 22, 21,964. The fundamental problem is that the accused is another close associate of CM Manik Sarkar and this somewhere will infringe onto his personal image.
3. Teachers’ employment scam/ Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan scam:
A total of nearly ten thousand jobs were scrapped by the high court as it alleged that rules were flouted and norms broken in recruitment of teachers at various levels. This was followed by total of Rs. 5 crore been embezzled under Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA), a centrally sponsored scheme of Ministry of Human Resource Development. There have been allegations of financial benefit meting out in due processes of enrolment and these scams in the education sector have rendered a jolt to already existing education woes in the states of the North East
4. National heath mission scam:
Nearly Rs. 30 crores meant for National Health Mission was unaccounted since past eight years. Individual named Abhijit Bhowmik was also show caused for his connection to the scam and he was the media expert with the govt.
5. Ginger scam:
Over Rs. 2 crore frauds were perpetuated whilst purchasing and distribution of gingers at Satchad Block in Tripura’s South District in 2011.
6. Drug scam:
The financial frauds even percolated the heath sector where the state govt had procured fake medicines and drugs. This was then further distributed to govt hospitals. The scandal has reached to the level of the health minister and is also a big considering the people involved and accused in the case.
7. Rupaicherri road block scam and Pecharthal road block scam:
A total of Rs. 14 crore and 39 lakh were siphoned at Rupaicherri RD Block and Rs. 76 crore and 79 lakh were swindled at Pecharthal RD Block for a period of two years. The scam involved not doing the brick soiling work and it was suspected that either of the implementing officers had not executed the work or they had misappropriated the money in cheating.
8. MGNREGA scam
A total of Rs. six lakh, forty-seven thousand, three hundred and forty five were misused in MGNREGA scheme which is considered as good on paper and again involved CM’s close aide.
Apart from the above, the list of scams is endless. Some of them are as follows”
9. Rs three crore scam in bamboo project in Kadamtala,
10. Rs five crore scam in construction of Kadamtala hospital
11. Rs two crore scam in Tripura apex fishery
12. Rs 35 crore scam in Kailashsahar horticulture department and so on.
Arvind Kejriwal and Mamta Banarjee were touted as clean imaged politicians but they were crumbled under the weight of so many scams and scandals. Manik Sarkar is the latest entrant in the same bandwagon.
On the contrary, Manik Sarkar may even bear a striking resemblance to former PM Manmohan Singh’s administration. Somewhere Dr Singh facilitated a lot of monumental scams under his nose owing to having no real authority in lieu with Sonia Gandhi.
In actuality, his administration made the atmosphere a very conducive ecosystem to help the scamsters and financial criminals bloom. All the big scams like 2G and Coalgate slowly and steadily reached his authority. Manik Sarkar and the proximity of many accused to him perhaps at least prove that a similar flourishing system was perpetuated by his administration which helped growth of financial frauds. Scams here too are slowly reaching his office and this could make him a poor man’s Manmohan Singh rather than a poor CM.
As the CBI reaches out for his neck, another falsehood of a poor CMs image harbored by Manik Sarkar has already busted and is ready to be further incarcerated.
It’s manifestation on the Left fronts fortunes in impending elections of 2018 in Tripura is yet to be seen.