Firhad Hakim on Thursday became the new Mayor of Kolkata after Sovan Chatterjee was asked to resign by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. This came a day after Chatterjee resigned from the state cabinet, where he held portfolios of Housing Department and Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Hakim, a long Mamata loyalist, is currently an MLA from Kolkata Port assembly constituency and holds key portfolios Urban Development and Municipal Affairs in the state government. In order for Hakim to be appointed as the new Mayor of Kolkata, the state assembly on Thursday amended the existing rule under Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018. The bill was presented in the assembly by Hakim himself and received support from the BJP too.
The public controversy over Chatterjee’s personal life was reportedly causing a lot of discomfort to Banerjee, who ran out of her patience on Wednesday and asked for his resignation. The chief minister had told reporters that Chatterjee had expressed his desire to ‘four-five times’ in the past. “He resigned today and we have accepted it. He has also been asked to quit the post of city Mayor,” Banerjee was quoted as saying.
On Thursday, the lone BJP MLA in the assembly, Dilip Ghosh, took a dig at the TMC for its latest crisis within the party. Banerjee was quick to rubbish his claims denying that the Trinamool Congress was grappling with any crisis. Addressing Ghosh, Banerjee said, “Even in your party MJ Akbar had resigned (as India’s junior foreign minister). In our party, all the 122 councillors of KMC have the capability of taking up the post of Mayor.” She didn’t end her dig here. The chief minister, according to NDTV, added, “Why Amit Shah is your party president? Is there no other capable person in your party.”
Hakim will now have to get himself elected as a councillor within the next six months.