BJP up in arms against Bobby Hakim's 'mini-Pakistan' comment
The BJP strongly condemned Trinamool Congress MLA and West Bengal cabinet minister Firhad Hakim's 'mini-Pakistan' comments and filed a complaint with the Election Commission. BJP leader Bengal Siddharth Nath Singh said that Hakim telling a Pakistani correspondent "please come along and let me take you to mini-Pakistan" showed insensitivity and callousness. He urged the electorate not to "give a single vote to Bobby Hakim".
Mamata Banerjee's key aide Firhad Hakim stirred a massive controversy hours before the fifth phase of elections in West Bengal when he described the Garden Reach area as "mini-Pakistan". He made the comments to a correspondent of leading Pakistan daily- 'The Dawn'. The report, 'Canvassing in 'mini-Pakistan' of Kolkata' emerged in the Dawn's web-edition and soon got thousands of 'likes' on Facebook.
Bobby Hakim, Minister for Urban Development and the Minister for Municipal Affairs in the Government of West Bengal has been mired in a number of controversies including the Narada corruption sting and the collapse of a flyover under the purview of his Ministry.
Firhad Hakim, popularly known as Bobby Hakim justified his comments by calling it a "blatant attempt to foment communal tension ahead of the polls." He said it was below his dignity to say anything more on this issue. He said that if PM Modi "can visit Pakistan four times, how does it matter if one Firhad Hakim gives a 'mini-Pakistan' statement?"
While most of Trinamool leadership refrained from comment, MP Sultan Ahmed distanced himself from the controversy saying that he didn't agree with 'such views'. Party spokesperson Derek O Brien refused to comment. However, a senior Trinamool MP alleged that "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."