Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday wrote a letter to Ajit Pawar expressing reservations about the inclusion of NCP leader Nawab Malik in the Mahayuti alliance, a coalition comprising the BJP, Shiv Sena, and Ajit Pawar’s NCP faction. The move comes after Malik was spotted on treasury benches during the winter session of the Maharashtra assembly in Nagpur.
Earlier, Nawab Malik, who spent 18 months in jail over a money-laundering case, aligned himself with Ajit Pawar’s faction and was seen on the treasury benches. The BJP and Eknath Shinde faction had alleged Malik’s connections with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim based on ED accusations.
In his letter, Fadnavis acknowledged Malik’s right as a legislator but cited concerns about the allegations against him. Fadnavis noted that while it is Pawar’s prerogative to choose party members, every component party should ensure it does not hinder the Mahayuti alliance.
Fadnavis stated, “We cannot agree with the views of the then Chief Minister and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which kept him as a minister even when he was arrested on charges of having links with traitors. I hope you will note our sentiments.”