Ahead of the budget session of the state legislature, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has intensified its attack on the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government over the arrest of minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik. The BJP has announced to not let business in the legislature happen during the session until Malik is sacked.
The BJP held press conferences across the state over the arrest of Malik and demanded his removal. Party’s Maharashtra chief Chandrakant Patil announced in Kolhapur that they would not allow the business in both the houses until Malik, who had been arrested for an ‘anti-national’ act, was not sacked from the cabinet. Patil said the minister entered into money laundering for gangster Dawood Ibrahim by showing a technical transaction of ₹300 crore Kurla land in the name of the company owned by Malik.
“Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray stood strongly in the interest of society and the nation during the communal riots and bomb blasts in 1992 and 1993, but his son chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has been shielding a minister linked with accused of 1992 blasts. This is nothing but a political compromise, which will not be tolerated by us. We will continue our agitation until Malik is sacked,” Patil said.
Former minister and party leader Ashish Shelar said it is high time for CM Thackeray to walk the talk and initiate action against his cabinet colleague facing charges of links with the gangster.
“The CM should ask the newly appointed police commissioner to initiate action against Dawood aides, and Malik for shielding them. The police also need to investigate the links in Godiwala Compound land and the deal in a BKC plot to unearth the association with politicians and Dawood aides. The CM needs to stand strong in the interest of the country and not buckle under the pressure from NCP chief Sharad Pawar,” he said.
Malik was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last week after hours of interrogation in a money-laundering case. The minority affairs minister is facing charges of having entered into a land deal with a 1992-bomb blast convict.
The BJP has been demanding his expulsion from the state cabinet and began statewide agitation on Thursday. The opposition is expected to aggravate the attack on the ruling MVA during the budget session.
Former chief minister and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis has announced to ‘expose’ the Thackeray government by producing evidence of how the state is framing leaders of the opposition by faking documents.
Another BJP leader Prasad Lad said at his press conference in Kankavali in Sindhudurg that the ED initiated a probe against Malik after the documents related to the controversial Kurla land were submitted by Fadnavis to the Central agency.
Shelar also targeted the NCP and the Sena over the Bombay high court remarks over the Lavasa project. “The court has said that the Pawar family has active involvement in the Lavasa project and they misused political power. The court pointed to the lack of transparency in the entire project and termed it the loot of national assets. Now the question arises is whether environment minister Aaditya Thackeray has any stand on it. The issues related to the affected farmers are yet to be resolved. Thackeray needs to clarify his take on it,” he said.
Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said the BJP had always invoked Dawood for political gains but could not nab him even after years in power.
“My straight question is why the BJP government could not nab Dawood if he is enemy number one to the nation. Why prime minister Narendra Modi paid a sudden visit to Pakistan to meet his counterpart Nawab Sharif in 2015. Why did Fadnavis not initiate action in Malik’s land deals when he was the CM and the home minister for five years? The BJP wants to make an event out of everything and even by stalling the business of the legislature, they want to utilise the issue for their political gain, but it will come at the cost of people’s interest,” she said.
She said Aaditya Thackeray will speak on the Lavasa issue at the appropriate time.