Here are 5 honest men who will prove honest politicians are not extinct
An honest politician is one of those oxymorons that people don’t dare fantasize about – it’s unthinkable, irrational, and dangerous for one’s career in the corridors of power. Here’s some people who challenge that, India times found.
1.Dr TM Thomas Isaac, a CPI(M) candidate from Kerala
We have all said this, ‘politicians make a lot of promises before the elections and then forget about it once elected’. Well that may not be the case with Dr TM Thomas Isaac, a CPI(M) candidate from Kerala. With only 1 day left for election result, Isaac began work on his first election promise, to plant as much tree saplings as the majority he gets in the election.
Isaac who is widely expected to win the election from Alapuzha, by his own admission expects to plant around 15,000 trees. Isaac, a former finance minister of Kerala has been for decades a campaigner for organic farming. Since 2002, Isaac has led what many call as an ‘organic farming revolution’ in the state getting farmers to take the organic path and ensure the supply of fresh, chemical-free vegetable readily available in the market, for a state which largely depended on supplies from other states to meet its daily needs.
2. Shingara Ram Shahunggra
As pre-monsoon showers hit Garhshankar town in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district, Shingara Ram Shahunggra and his family start looking for tarpaulin sheets to cover their belongings lying by the side of the road. As the family settles down under the sheets on iron cots put on wet earth, it is difficult to imagine that Shahunggra had been a BSP MLA from Punjab, not one but twice!
The family had been living illegally in an irrigation department house for the past few years. The government finally decided to evict him on Sunday, making him perhaps the only ex-MLA in a rich state like Punjab who never built a fancy house for himself in all these years.
3. Manohar Parrikar
About a month before his swearing-in as the first-time chief minister of Goa, Parrikar’s wife Medha succumbed to cancer. That left Parrikar with the responsibilities of running the state while being a single parent to his two teenage boys. But he put up a brave front and got about discharging his duties as CM. Even after becoming CM, Parrikar continued living in his own modest house and didn’t upgrade to a fancier vehicle, preferring instead to keep using the Innova he was allotted as leader of the opposition. Parrikar always travels in economy class and pays for personal calls from his own pocket. He doesn’t entertain the VVIP treatment meted out to netas. He is famous for using a rickshaw and public transport like a regular person, especially outside Goa. For a 58 year old man, his 16-18 hour work schedule is pretty impressive.
Manik Sarkar first first took charge of Tripura as CM in 1998. Regarded as the country’s poorest CM, his personal life is aligned with what CPM means to the masses. The 66-year-old leader, who won his first assembly election in 1980, and his wife Panchali, lead a no-frills life, and don’t even have children. He donates his salary and allowances as CM to CPM. In return, the party pays him Rs 5,000 as subsistence allowance every month. According to reports, his wife travels in a rickshaw, and his opponents grudgingly acknowledge his impeccable honesty.
The Sarkars don’t own a vehicle. While the chief minister used his official vehicle to commute, his wife travelling in a rickshaw to office has been a common sight on the streets of Agartala. He has no email account, neither does he carry a cellphone. He can be reached on the landline numbers of his official residence and his office. In 2013, the Times of India found that he’d become poorer after his third term, unlike many other politicians.
5. Arjun Ram Meghwal
A weaver since childhood, married in class 7, then a telephone operator – life has been tough for MP Arjun Ram Meghwal. School education was rare in his village, but despite being married, he managed to achieve a postgraduate degree. Then, he pursued an LLB while working as a Indian Post and Telegraph Department telephone operator, and simultaneously fought and won the elections for the post of General Secretary of Telephone Traffic. He then cracked the Rajasthan Administrative Services, being recruited as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan, and eventually promoted to the Indian Administrative Services and worked as District Collector of Churu district. Then, after considering that his achievements made him a role model, he entered politics.