KOLKATA: West Bengal minister and former Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim courted a controversy on Tuesday after a purported video clip, in which he was heard verbally abusing central forces and the BJP, went viral on social media.
In the clip, veracity of which could not be confirmed by PTI, Hakim -- during a roadshow in the south-western part of Kolkata - also apparently threatened to take action against the saffron party and the CISF, once the assembly polls get over.
Shortly after the video surfaced, BJP IT cell helmer Amit Malviya shared it on Twitter and wrote, "If Mamata Banerjee is constantly instigating her cadres to indulge in violence against central para military forces, how can her minions be behind?" A delegation of saffron camp leaders also visited the office of CEO Aariz Aftab during the day, urging him to take note of Hakim's comments and initiate action against him.
In a letter submitted at the CEO office, the BJP said that Hakim's remarks are violative of the Model Code of Conduct, and attempt to influence the electorate. The party demanded that Hakim be censured and barred from campaigning.
"A senior minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet makes unprintable abusive comments against a political party as well as the central paramilitary forces which protect us. We urged the CEO to take up the issue with the EC in Delhi and initiate strict action against Hakim," Swapan Dasgupta, who led the delegation to Aftab's office, told reporters.
Hakim, the TMC candidate from Kolkata Port, however, claimed that the BJP was circulating a "doctored" video to malign his image. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had on several occasions said that the Cooch Behar tragedy on April 10 was a "result of a conspiracy" hatched by the BJP to intimidate voters.
Four persons died outside a polling booth in Cooch Behar, when the CISF opened fire in "self defence" after allegedly coming under attack from locals.
Terming the Cooch Behar incident as "cold-blooded murder", Banerjee has claimed that the central forces were working under the instructions of the BJPs top brass, and said she will institute a CID probe into the incident, after her party returns to power.