Bengal minister’s ‘mini Pak’ remark gets him into trouble, BJP fumes
West Bengal cabinet minister and Trinamool Congress legislator Bobby Firhad Hakim found himself in the middle of another controversy on Saturday for reportedly telling a Pakistani journalist his constituency was a “mini-Pakistan in Kolkata”.india Updated: Apr 30, 2016 16:04 IST
West Bengal cabinet minister and Trinamool Congress legislator Bobby Firhad Hakim found himself in the middle of another controversy on Saturday for reportedly telling a Pakistani journalist his constituency was a “mini-Pakistan in Kolkata”.
While the BJP took on the Trinamool minister for his comments, Hakim denied the report that was published by The Dawn. The journalist worked on a first person report of visiting Garden Reach, Hakim’s constituency which goes to polls between April 30 and May 5.
“I have not said anything about Pakistan. The journalist felt like it was her place… If the head of the government goes to Pakistan again and again, there’s no harm... But if a Muslim says so, then the reaction comes,” Hakim told a television news channel.
Calling it a “narrowness of the mind”, he added, “It is not criticism. It is a sense of communalism. I will not react to this.”
The BJP on Saturday targeted Hakim after The Dawn’s story reported the minister as saying: “Please come along and let us take you to mini-Pakistan in Kolkata,” to journalist Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui.
Towards the end of the report, Siddiqui writes: “Firhad is right … This does feel like mini-Pakistan.”
Reacting to the article, BJP’s co-in charge of West Bengal, Siddharth Nath Singh said, “This is unfortunate. Bobby Hakim was involved in several controversies even in the past, he is a close aide of (chief minister) Mamata Banerjee. We condemn this and urge the electorate not to give a single vote to Bobby Hakim.”
Only last month, Hakim was at the centre of the flyover collapse tragedy in which around 20 people died in Kolkata. As the state urban development minister, Hakim’s department was held responsible for the project being sanctioned to a construction company that turned out to be questionable.
The fifth phase of the West Bengal assembly elections for 53 seats is underway, and the BJP is looking to gain as much political mileage to beat the Trinamool Congress.