Kolkata violence fallout: Hakim told to lie low, not speak to media
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State Urban Development Minister and one of the most trusted lieutenants of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Firhad Hakim, has been asked by his party to keep away from public meetings and programmes for the time being. He has been asked to let the controversy over his ties with the Garden Reach leaders whose names have surfaced in this week's police officer's murder case subside.
Hakim has been directed not to speak to the media and has also been restricted from going to Nalhati in Birbhum district where he was supposed to campaign for the Assembly by-poll. He also skipped another programme in the city during the day. A senior TMC leader said: "Hakim has only been barred from speaking to media. And that is why all his public meetings — in Birbhum and in Kolkata as well — were cancelled."
Earlier, he had been nominated by Mamata as one of the spokespersons for the government.
Meanwhile, Governor M K Narayanan, when asked at a programme if he recommended anything for the minister, said: "Firhad Hakim is a minister in the Cabinet of the state government. So, if anything was to be done, the cabinet will decide."
State Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee denied any information about this and Mukul Roy, TMC general secretary, denied to comment over the issue. Several senior leaders of TMC, however, confirmed that Hakim has been barred from attending any public programme "for the time being" and "till the Garden Reach issue settles down" he has been barred from speaking to media.
Although sources in TMC ranks said Mamata cannot afford to remove Hakim from the Cabinet, they added that some disciplinary action would be taken to "protect the party's image".
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