News Maker | Mamata’s top lieutenant again under CBI: Who is Farhad Hakeem? | Political Plus News

This is not the first time for senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Farhad Hakeem, whose house in South Kolkata was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday in connection with the alleged municipal recruitment scam. is when they are running. with the Central Investigating Agency.

Hakeem, who is one of the senior-most members of Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, was accused of accepting bribes in the 2016 Narada sting operation case. The CBI’s anti-corruption branch named him as an accused in an FIR in the Narada case in 2017 and the CBI arrested him in connection with the case in May 2021. But later he was released on bail. The allegations, according to TMC insiders, led to a rift between Hakim, considered one of Mamata Banerjee’s trusted lieutenants, and Abhishek Banerjee, the chief minister’s nephew and TMC’s de facto number two. There is a reason.

64-year-old Hakeem – Minister of State for Urban Development and Municipal Affairs and Mayor of Kolkata – is popularly known as “Bobby Da” in political circles and has been associated with the party since its inception in 1998. Kolkata Port Constituency, he previously held the portfolios of Transport and Housing in the state cabinet. He was first elected to the assembly from Alipore in the 2009 by-election and two years later, when the TMC ousted the Left and came to power, Hakeem was elected from the Kolkata Port seat. Since then, he has held the seat.

He has also served as the Mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) twice and is the first Muslim to hold the post after independence. After the resignation of former mayor Suvan Chatterjee in November 2018, the TMC appointed Hakeem and re-nominated him to the post in 2021.

Ups and downs

Known for his closeness to Mamata as a member of the party’s old guard, reports of his differences with Abhishek later surfaced as the latter grew and gripped the party. In 2021, the differences first came to public notice when Diamond Harbour’s MP Abhishek challenged the old guard on his list of candidates for the municipal elections and another set of candidates, who allegedly supported him. , was released. Abhishek suggested that tickets should not be given to relatives of leaders or people with “tainted” backgrounds. But a section of veteran party leaders challenged Abhishek on this and ultimately prevailed as Mamata chose to ignore her nephew’s suggestion.

Earlier this year, after the TMC’s loss in the Sagardighi by-election in Murshidabad, the party leadership, worried about the transfer of minority votes, removed Hakeem as chairman of the Farfura Sharif Development Board. Farfural Sharif in Hooghly district is the second most prominent Sufi shrine in the country after Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan.

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Then, in April, Hakeem and Abhishek clashed over the parking fee hike under the MC. Barely a week after the hike was introduced by the mayor, the party forced him to withdraw it after spokesperson and Abhishek loyalist Kunal Ghosh publicly criticized the move as a “burden on the common man”. Made. Ghosh said that the increase was made without the Chief Minister’s approval and was not endorsed by the party and the government. The party order raised eyebrows as the KMC is an autonomous civic body.

A TMC leader close to Hakeem said at the time, “Farhad was upset not because of the withdrawal of parking fees, but because a party leader had openly criticized the leadership’s call. If the chief minister Had he been called for a rollback, he would have done it immediately. But what shocked him was that Ghosh had publicly broadcast the party order for him.

Despite these ups and downs, Hakeem remains part of Mamata’s inner circle and recently shared the dice with Abhishek during the party’s protest at Raj Bhavan over the Centre’s withholding of funds for two schemes. .

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First published: 08-10-2023 at 20:39 IST

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