Kolkata gets its first Muslim mayor post-Independence in minister Firhad Hakim
Kolkata, Nov 23: Minister in West Bengal government Firhad Hakim has been named as the new mayor of Kolkata after the sudden ouster of Sovan Chatterjee who also quit as a minister from the government. Hakim is currently the minister for municipal and urban development affairs. It was said that Hakim's experience in matters related to the municipal affairs helped him to emerge as a frontrunner for the top civic post.
Chatterjee resigned as the minister on Tuesday, November 20, following which he was also asked to step down from the post of the mayor by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Chatterjee is having a torrid time on his home front which the party - Trinamool Congress - was seeing as a threat to its own image.
Hakim was named for the plum post after a bill was passed in the state Assembly on Thursday that would enable a non-corporator to be appointed as a mayor of the corporation - a post which was once held by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Hakim, known to be a Mamata loyalist, has to get elected as the corporator within six months.
Hakim also became first Muslim mayor of the centuries-old metropolitan after Independence. There were also speculations that his name was floated ahead of the Lok Sabha election to appease minority feelings.
Atin Ghosh, a corporator from North Kolkata, was named as the deputy mayor.
Elections to the civic body are due in 2020.