Devendra Fadnavis opposes Nawab Malik’s induction in ruling Maha Yuti alliance in Maharashtra


Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis wrote to his cabinet colleague and NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Thursday, opposing the induction of NCP MLA Nawab Malik in the ruling ‘Maha Yuti’ alliance.

Malik is an accused in a money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He is currently out on medical bail after the ED arrested him in February 2022. As of now, Malik himself has not yet made clear whether he belongs to the Ajit Pawar faction or the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.

Fadnavis wrote the letter to Ajit Pawar hours after Nawab Malik attended the winter session of the state legislature on Thursday and sat with NCP MLAs from Ajit Pawar’s faction, Hindustan Times reported. Fadnavis also posted the letter on X.

In the letter, he said, “Today former minister and MLA Nawab Malik participated in the proceedings of the assembly. As a member of the assembly, he has a right to do so. We do not have any personal enmity with him but considering the allegations against him, we think that it will not be appropriate to include him in Maha Yuti alliance.”

“It’s totally your prerogative to decide who should be in your party. But at the same time, it is important and the duty of every alliance partner to see that the decision should not harm the Maha Yuti. So we oppose the inclusion of Malik,” he said in the letter.

Fadnavis also said that his party could not be on the same page as the “then chief minister” and the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government which had allowed Malik to continue as a minister even after he was arrested. Malik was a cabinet minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government at the time of his arrest.

Meanwhile, Nawab Malik refused to speak on Devendra Fadnavis’s letter to NCP leader Ajit Pawar. Malik said he was told by the Supreme Court to not make any statement to the media. “I am in NCP and there is no split in the party. I would not speak on political matters but would be present in the house till the end of the session to raise my constituency-related issues,” he was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying.

NCP MLC from Ajit Pawar faction Amol Mitkari said Fadnavis should have conveyed his views in private and not put it out in the public domain, the Hindustan Times reported.

As Malik appeared in the assembly on Thursday, the Opposition targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is part of the government, pointing out that it had once dubbed Malik a “traitor” after he faced allegations of doing a land deal in Mumbai with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s aides. Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders Ambadas Danve, Anil Parab and others tried to corner the government over the issue in the legislative council, PTI reported.

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Published: 07 Dec 2023, 10:46 PM IST

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