West Bengal’s urban development minister Firhad Bobby Hakim’s controversial statement, in which he describes Garden Reach area of Kolkata as’ Mini Pakistan’, has caused a stir at a time when state is voting in the fifth phase of the polls . Firhad Hakim made the contentious statement during an interview with the Pakistan daily-The Dawn. “Please come along and let us take you to mini-Pakistan in Kolkata,” he allegedly said to the Dawn reporter.
Firhad Hakim came into lime light last month after he figured in the Narada sting operation.
Dawn reporters visited Garden Reach with Firhad Hakim as part of their election reporting. The report titled ‘ ‘Canvassing in ‘mini-Pakistan’ of Kolkata’ by Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui was published in the web edition of The Dawn on Friday. “Nearly all posters and graffiti on the walls are pasted and scrawled in Urdu: “Firhad Hakim (Bobby) ko kaseer votoun say kaamyaab karain”, “Urs Ghareeb Nawaz: Aap tamaam hazraat say guzarish hai is urs muqaddas main hazir ho kar hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz kay fuyooz say malaan houn”, “Ishtihaar lagana mana hai”.Firhad is right … This does feel like mini-Pakistan,” dawn report says.
BJP state officials has demanded the resignation of Hakim for the statement. “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,” said Siddharth Nath Singh, BJP leader.
But Hakim defended his statement by accusing BJP for making communal polarisation. “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?” he asked.