“Implementing each and every promise made in our poll manifesto to the last word would be my priority job,” said a beaming TMC leader, Firhad Hakim, in his first interview to News18 after he became the Mayor of Kolkata.
This would be Hakim’s second consecutive term as Kolkata’s first citizen and his first full-term as Mayor.
Hakim was previously entrusted with the job for a broken term in December 2018 after his predecessor, Sovan Chatterjee, quit Trinamool Congress and jumped ship to the BJP. He continued as the chairman of the Board of Administrators of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation from May 2020 till elections, which had remained suspended on account of the Covid 19 outbreak, were held in December this year.
Evidently Hakim, who doubles up as the state transport and housing minister, made no effort to hide his gratefulness for his party supremo. “I thank Mamata Banerjee for entrusting me with this job. I will retain her trust till my last breath,” Hakim declared.
Interestingly, Hakim may have more on his platter than just municipal work while running his team of deputies, a 13-member mayor-in-council and 16 borough chairpersons from the famed “red building” of KMC headquarters in central Kolkata.
“I don’t want to see personal lobbies in the functioning of the Corporation. There must be only one lobby, our party. Keep your faith in the party,” said Mamata Banerjee, while summing up her speech at Maharashtra Niwas in south Kolkata while she addressed her newly elected city councillors.
“I will seek report card of councillors’ performances after six months. We will do a biannual review of municipal work from now on. We should talk less and work more,” Banerjee told her councillors, while making clear that the future prospects of these leaders would be performance oriented.
That challenge of keeping the team intact — free of lobbies, individual interests and corruption — is what Hakim would be evidently judged for, both within the party and outside.
This time he has as many as nine women borough chairpersons among the 16 boroughs of the city to work with.
“I will work with the new leaders of KMC, especially the women, and even with those party leaders who haven’t been given an official position in the civic body,” Hakim cautiously replied when asked if women’s participation in civic administration was the focus.
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