Trinamool faces flak for 'mini-Pak' remark

Trinamool faces flak for 'mini-Pak' remark

Trinamool faces flak for 'mini-Pak' remark

The Trinamool Congress ran into fresh trouble after Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper, quoted party top leader Firhad Hakim for labelling  Kolkata Port constituency a “mini-Pakistan”.

While Hakim’s seat, which witnessed polling on Saturday, has a high percentage of Muslims, the minister refuted the news report. “I never said anything about Pakistan. The journalist felt like it was her place… She told me the place looks like Karachi. I didn’t make any comment,” Hakim told reporters.

The article, attributed to Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui, quoted Hakim as saying, “Please come along and let us take you to mini-Pakistan in Kolkata”.

Siddiqui signed off her report with her observation, “Firhad is right … This does feel like mini-Pakistan.”

The minister refused to react to Opposition barbs.

Taking a dig at Mamata

BJP national general secretary Sidharth 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 him.”

“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 countered, talking to a Bengali news channel.

The report, published on Friday under the headline “Canvassing in ‘mini-Pakistan’ of Kolkata”, went viral on social media, with many raising questions over Hakim’s secular tendencies. Although Hakim, the patron of a prominent Durga Puja committee in Kolkata, has always maintained a secular image, the Trinamool leadership is concerned.

Hakim has already run into trouble twice since March, first when his name featured in the controversial Narada footage, and in the flyover collapse episode. Although Hakim is not among those seen directly receiving money, his role as urban development minister has come under question and many hold him responsible for the fatal collapse. Not only does the flyover come under his department, the joint venture company building the flyover included KMDA, his department’s nodal agency for developing large infrastructure in Kolkata.

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