Kolkata: West Bengal Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim was appointed the new Mayor of Kolkata Thursday after Sovan Chatterjee resigned from the post on the directions of Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) councillors, where senior party leaders, including Banerjee, were present.
Hakim will be the first mayor of Kolkata - the capital of West Bengal, from the minority Muslim community since Independence.
Atin Ghosh, a mayor-in-council, will be the new deputy mayor replacing Iqbal Ahmed, who is ill for the past few months, according to PTI.
Senior Trinamool Congress leader Chatterjee, who had resigned as minister for fire services and housing on Tuesday, was absent from the meeting. He is a councillor of the KMC and an MLA of ruling TMC in the state assembly.
Asked about his absence, Chatterjee claimed he was not called for the meeting in which 116 of the total 122 councillors were present. The party leadership cited "a communication gap" as the reason.
Hakim thanked Banerjee and party colleagues for restoring faith in him. "I am just a soldier of the party and will work for the development of the city," he said.
Firhad Hakim will be required to be elected as a councillor in the next six months as per a new bill passed Thursday. He had been one in the past.
West Bengal has over 24.6 million Bengali Muslims, who form 27.1% of the state's population, according to 2011 Census of India. In Kolkata, population of Muslims is 926,414 making up 20.6% of the city population as of 2011 census.
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