CHAWMANU: Nirajoy Tripura, a CPI-M candidate in the Left Front-ruled Tripura, is perhaps the oldest and the poorest lawmaker in the country. The 90-year-old is pitted against five candidates at Chawmanu constituency in Tripura’s Dhalai district.
According to an affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, Tripura has bank saving worth Rs 55,170. He said the amount was allowances that he received as an MLA over a period of time. “I cannot draw it as I don’t have PAN card which is required to withdraw money,” he said.
Tripura lives in a thatched house. Four chairs, a cot, a table and some musical instruments are all that he has at home. His wife died a few years ago and his daughter is married. He is taken care of by his nephew, who lives in the same compound.
“I get a monthly salary of `14,000 which is enough for me. And if I can save something out of it, I give it to the needy who come to me seeking help,” Tripura told The New Indian Express.
The CPI-M candidate had won the 2008 and 2013 polls by 1,101 and 1,495 votes. Tripura is confident of retaining the seat for the third time.
“I have been closely mingling with the people for the past few months. And as the wind is blowing in my favour yet again, I believe the margin of my victory will be bigger this election,” he said.
He said his fight would be against the BJP candidate Sambhu Lal Chakma, saying that the BJP was new in the “market”. “When a product is launched in the market, we, by nature, crave for it. So, I feel some people will want to taste it (BJP).”
Tripura has been actively associated with the CPI-M throughout his life. Asked if he aspires to become a minister, he rejected it outright saying he is illiterate. He was also among a few who had fought demanding official recognition to the tribals’ Kok Borok language.
As music is inseparable from the grandpa’s life, it is obvious that his campaigns will be musical. “I used to act in skits and I know how to play on harmonium, tabla and some other musical instruments. My supporters have made my campaigns musical,” he said.
The CPI-M said Tripura had been fielded as he is immensely popular in the constituency. “He is an honest man and hugely popular. He is a man from a generation where the people didn’t use to keep track of their ages. In any case, we will not field him in the next elections,” CPI-M state secretary Bijan Dhar said.