West Bengal polls 2016: Minister Firhad Hakim shows Kolkata’s ‘mini-Pakistan’ to Pakistani journalis

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by harsh, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. harsh

    harsh Regular Member

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    KOLKATA: Hours before the fifth phase of elections, Narada-stung West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim triggered a huge controversy by describing Garden Reach as "mini-Pakistan" to a correspondent of leading Pakistan daily, 'The Dawn'.
    Hakim's statement may have an impact not only in Kolkata Port, where he is a candidate, but most of the 52 assembly seats that go to polls on Saturday.
    "Please come along and let us take you to mini-Pakistan in Kolkata," the Bengal urban minister is reported telling Dawn reporter Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui as she trailed him on a campaign rally in Garden Reach.
    he report, 'Canvassing in 'mini-Pakistan' of Kolkata' by Siddiqui, appeared in the Dawn's web-edition on Friday and has got thousands of 'likes' on Facebook.
    The timing of the statement has come in handy to state BJP officials, who've been eyeing polarisation along religious lines beyond the usual Trinamool-Jote equation. BJP was quick to demand Hakim's removal from Trinamool.
    Trinamool was wary of commenting on it. Hakim said, "It's a blatant attempt to foment communal tension ahead of the polls. I will not elaborate on this issue because it is beneath my dignity to do so. If PM Modi can visit Pakistan four times, how does it matter if one Firhad Hakim gives a 'mini-Pakistan' statement?"
    Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed was quick to distance himself from the statement. "I do not agree with such views provided he actually said so," he said. Party spokesperson Derek O Brien refused to comment.
    A senior party MP, however, alleged, "With just 12 hours before the polls, this is nothing but (BJP's) dirty-tricks department at work. Where is the proof? He could easily have been misquoted."
    State BJP vice-president Joyprakash Majumdar said: "The statement has been on the Internet for half-a-day. During the entire period no Trinamool functionary said anything in protest. This shows that they want to remain silent about it. We have filed a complaint with EC."
    If Hakim had said so in the hope of consolidating votes of the Urdu-speaking Muslim community, he'd better take a look at the 2014 Lok Sabha poll results when he suffered heavily due to polarisation. Hakim's 2011 victory margin of over 30,000 votes was slashed to a mere 3,000 in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and BJP directly reaped the benefits.
    The Dawn reporter writes, "Seeing me loitering around with my notebook in hand, the men in the neighbourhood want to know what TV channel I work for. When I tell them I am from Pakistan, they break into broad smiles and tell me of their relatives who live back home."
     
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