West Bengal chief minister has landed herself in yet another controversy after she appointed her close aide and Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim as the chairman of the newly formed Tarakeshwar Development Board (TDB) in Hooghly district. The opposition has accused the CM of playing appeasement politics by appointing a Muslim leader as the head of the board that will also take care of the Tarakeshwar temple, which is a famous 288-year-old Shiva temple.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has warned the CM of severe legal ramifications if she didn’t reverse her decision in 48 hours.
“I have already set up my legal eagle team for Bengal to challenge Mamata’s horrible temple appointment. A writ petition will be filed,” Swamy said.
Reacting to Firhad’s appointment, BJP National General Secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya, tweeted, “Firhad Hakim is the same leader who once said (to Pakistani Journalist Maleeha Hamid Sidiqqui of Dawn) that a portion of port area in Kolkata is like a mini Pakistan. Now Mamata Banerjee has appointed the same person as the chairman of Tarakeshwar Temple Board.”
“She (Mamata) has committed the same mistake which Akhilesh Yadav did in Uttar Pradesh. Akhilesh had appointed Azam Khan as the prabhari of Kumbh and now the election results are there in front of everyone,” his tweet reads.
The state unit’s secretary Sayantan Basu also questioned the move, asking if a non-Muslim would be allowed to monitor daily activities of a mosque.
“More than communal, these are sentimental issues and the ruling party should think twice before taking such stand,” he said.
Debashish Chowdhury, the Sah-prachar Pramukh of RSS (South Bengal), said the appointment process should be transparent and must be done after taking the sentiments and religious feelings of Hindus.
He said, “The government is trying to take administrative control over the Tarakeshwar temple. The appointment of non-Hindu as chairperson is poor judgement, bad administration. If there were a development board – for example for Furfura Sharif shrine – and it had a Hindu chairperson would the Muslims agree to it?”
On June 1, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her administrative meeting in Hooghly, which is nearly 61 kilometers from Kolkata, announced the formation of a police commissionerate along with a university, a medical college and a development board for Tarakeshwar.
She also granted Rs 5 crore for Tarakeshwar Temple. The board will look after the development of the town temple and its adjoining areas.
Firhad Hakim, state Urban Devaelopment minister, was appointed as the chairman of the board and Becharam Manna (TMC’s face during Singur agaitation) as the vice-chairman.
Firhad – also known as Bobby – is facing a CBI inquiry in Narada sting scam. On April 17, CBI has filed charge sheet against 12 TMC leaders including Firhad.
“We have filed charge sheet against these people under section 120 B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), Section 13 (2), 13 (1D) and Section of 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act. We will soon summon them questioning,” CBI had said.