Press Trust of india

NCP ministers meet  after Malik’s arrest; Pawar to call on Maha CM

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Mumbai: Some NCP ministers in Maharashtra met at the residence of party president Sharad Pawar here on Wednesday evening to discuss the situation arising out of the arrest of their cabinet and party colleague Nawab Malik by the ED in connection with a money laundering case.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Hasan Mushrif and Rajesh Tope were present at Sharad Pawar’s residence ‘Silver Oak’ in South Mumbai for the meeting, party sources said.

“The meeting was called to discuss the current situation that has arisen post Malik’s arrest and the party’s future course of action,” the sources said.

They said Malik’s portfolios could be shared with his party colleagues in the cabinet in case he resigns.

Malik, a senior NCP leader, holds the skill development portfolio besides the minority affairs department in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

The NCP president is likely to meet chief minister Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s official residence ‘Varsha’ in south Mumbai later in the evening in the wake of the sudden development.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders and MVA Ministers Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan called on Sharad Pawar and discussed the fallout of Malik’s arrest.

Another Congress minister Sunil Kedar also joined the meeting.

The NCP and the Congress are constituents of the Shiv Sena-led MVA government.

Criticism continued to pour in from NCP leaders over Malik’s arrest.

Maharashtra NCP president and minister Jayant Patil said the state never saw such political vendetta in the past and claimed efforts were being made to pull down the MVA government.

Speaking during the party’s on-going mass outreach programme in Solapur in western Maharashtra, Patil said Malik has been arrested “without any reason”.

“People are seeing such politics right now, but they will express their opinion at the right time,” Patil said.

Without naming anyone, the NCP leader alleged “some people” want to topple the MVA government “anyhow”.

“Arrests are being made for no reason with the help of central agencies. This is not right,” Patil added.

The state water resources minister alleged he, too, was pressurised to join the BJP in 2019, but he resisted pressures and didn’t leave the NCP.


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