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Firhad Hakim to meet imam opposing Babul as Ballygunge candidate

“Minister Hakim called me today and requested me to reconsider my decision. He has also asked me to meet him at his office at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday evening to discuss the issue. We would stick to our demand to withdraw Babul as a candidate with Trinamul Congress ticket,” Yahiya said.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Visibly rattled by the Bengal Imams Associations (BIA) chairman Md Yahiya’s threat to field himself as an independent candidate in Ballygunge assembly bypolls scheduled on 12 April, ruling Trinamul Congress leadership today requested the imam not do so.

On Sunday, Yahiya had issued a threat to contest the by-election if the Trinamul Congress does not withdraw Babul (Supriyo) as a candidate in the assembly seat. Today, state transport minister and Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim phoned the BIA head in this regard.

“Minister Hakim called me today and requested me to reconsider my decision. He has also asked me to meet him at his office at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday evening to discuss the issue. We would stick to our demand to withdraw Babul as a candidate with Trinamul Congress ticket,” Yahiya said.

“Trinamul knows very well how minority voters sharing more than 60 per cent vote bank in the constituency can decide the fate of the winning candidate. We hope the party leadership will meet our demand,” he said.

Talking to The Statesman on Sunday evening the BIA chief had said, “We still remember the shocking incident of riots in Asansol in 2018 when a 16-year-old son of a local imam was killed. Babul Supriyo was the then BJP MP from Asansol and no secular political party could field him as a candidate in any elections and we strongly protest against Mamata Banerjee’s decision.”

Around 22,000 to 35,000 imams across the state are members of the BIA. TMC on Sunday, had announced the name of Babul, former Union minister of state in the Narendra Modi cabinet as the TMC candidate from Ballygunge.