Uddhav govt backs Nawab Malik, rejects calls for resignation
Nawab Malik arrest: Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government was being attacked from the back like Afzal Khan.
The Maharashtra government, led by Uddhav Thackeray, will not accept the resignation of minister Nawab Malik who was sent to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till March 3 on Wednesday. The statement was made by state minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal amid calls for Malik's resignation from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) following his arrest.
Bhujbal said the decision was taken at a meeting of the three alliance partners – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – with Thackeray. “After a meeting with the CM, all three have parties agreed on this,” Bhujbal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“Malik was arrested in a wrong manner. He is being punished for attacking the Opposition. We will fight for justice. They (Centre) are putting pressure on our ministers to bring about a collapse of our govt,” he further said.
Also read | ED details Nawab Malik's links with Dawood Ibrahim, Haseena Parkar
State ministers will hold a protest demonstration against the ED and BJP-led central government at the Mahatma Gandhi Smark in Mumbai on Thursday.
Earlier, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said there was no need for arrested Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik to resign. Malik was arrested earlier in the day by the ED after hours of grilling in a money laundering case linked with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
Taking to Twitter, Raut, who heads the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, slammed the BJP without naming it, saying the latter attacked the alliance government from the back having lost a face-to-face fight. MVA ministers will stage a protest in Mumbai on Thursday against the arrest.
"As they cannot fight face to face with the Maha Vikas Aghadi, they have attacked from behind like Afzal Khan. Let them rejoice in the arrest of one minister by deception. Nawab Malik's resignation must not be taken. We will continue to fight and win. Kansa and Ravan were also killed. This is Hindutva. Jai Maharashtra!” read Raut’s tweet, loosely translated from Marathi.
The BJP started demanding the resignation of the senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader soon after Malik was arrested by the central agency.
"Nawab Malik has been arrested, he should resign now. We demand his resignation. If he doesn't, we will protest. How are they running the government?" state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.