ANI Photo | “Will present my point after Nawab Malik makes his position official” says Ajit Pawar as controversy hits Maharashtra government

After Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis wrote to NCP rival faction chief and fellow Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, opposing Nawab Malik’s induction into the ruling alliance in the state, Ajit Pawar responded saying he would present his point after Nawab Malik made his stand official.
“I received Fadnavis’ letter. First, I will present my point after coming to know what is the official stand of Nawab Malik, I do not decide who sits where in the Assembly, the speaker makes that decision” said Ajit Pawar.
The controversy over Nawab Malik allegedly aligning with Ajit Pawar continues to be a sore point between the alliance partners in Maharashtra.
NCP-Ajit Pawar Faction leader Amol Mitkari said that Nawab Malik has been the party’s spokesperson and a senior leader and the senior leaders of the party will clear their stance on it.
“The sitting arrangement is made by the government. If the legislative assembly Speaker has made the sitting arrangement, then I believe that he must know more about it. Nawab Malik has been the party’s spokesperson and a senior leader now. Our State President of NCP Sunil Tatkare made the stance clear yesterday. I met Ajit Pawar just before this, he or the senior leaders of the party will clear their stance on it” said NCP-Ajit Pawar Faction leader Amol Mitkari.
Ajit Pawar faction leader Sunil Tatkare on Thursday had said that Nawab Malik was only an old political associate and no formal discussions on joining the faction had been held with him.
“Nawab Malik is our senior colleague for many years. After he was granted bail on the issue of illness, we met as old colleagues to inquire about his health. We have not had any political discussion with them. After coming to the assembly today, it is only natural that he interacts and meets with old colleagues ” Tatkare had said.
UBT Sena leader Sanjay Raut however said that the devlopments were just a pretence and that other Ajit faction leaders also faced strong allegations.
“The Deputy Chief Minister of the state wrote a letter to the second Deputy Chief Minister. In Nagpur, both of them are sitting together in the House and are writing letters and corresponding. There are such allegations against Nawab Malik, this is a farce, if they want they can stand up and tell Nawab Malik, all this is a pretence. BJP is indulging in this farce time and again. There is an allegation of Rs 70 thousand crores against Ajit Pawar ji, Praful Patel’s property has been confiscated, in the same manner as the allegation made against Nawab Malik” Sanjay Raut said.
Speaking on Devendra Fadanvis’ letter, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said, “Fadnavis should be asked his opinion on Praful Patel and Hasan Mushrif or Ajit Pawar all of whom face allegations of corruption. Many mebers of the Ajit Pawar group like Pratap Sarnaiik and Bhavana gawli also face allegation, how are they part of the BJP alliance. If it was an issue of morality you would not have formed the government with them. Why attack only Nawab Malik?”
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi termed CM Devendra Fadnavis’s letter as ‘hypocrisy”.
“This is hypocrisy. There is a vast difference between their words and actions…This hypocrisy is because they are drunk on power. The public can see the compromises that the BJP did in Maharashtra for power. The public can see the betrayal that Eknath Shinde did to his party. The public can see all that Ajit Pawar did to give himself a clean chit. So, this letter is hypocrisy” Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said.
Meanwhile, Jayant Patil of the Sharad Pawar faction claimed the letter by the Deputy CM Fadnavis was only a way to inform the people that Nawab Malik had become part of the alliance.
“He (Nawab Malik) came to Vidhan Sabha and was sitting on the ruling party’s side. So, the BJP wrote this letter as a way of offering an explanation to the people (for the split in the NCP). Instead of sending a letter to Ajit Pawar, he (Fadnavis) could have just called and informed him. I think this letter was the government’s way of giving an explanation of Malik’s induction to the ruling alliance to the people of Maharashtra,” Patil told reporters in Nagpur.
Fadnavis on Thursday wrote to his cabinet colleague and NCP leader Ajit Pawar, expressing opposition to the induction of Malik in the ruling ‘Maha Yuti’ or grand alliance in the state.
“Given that he is an accused (in a money laundering case), we are of the opinion that it would not be proper to induct him into the ruling alliance. Power comes and goes but the country is paramount,” Fadnavis had said.
“We agree that it is your prerogative (to decide) who should be inducted in your party. But every constituent (in the Maha Yuti) has to think as to whether it would harm the alliance,” Fadnavis said, adding, “Hence, we are opposed to this”.
Malik is currently out on medical bail after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested him in February 2022 in a money-laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
Malik was a cabinet minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government at the time of his arrest. Malik attended the Winter Session of the Maharashtra Assembly here for the first time since his bail on Thursday.
He sat on the last bench in the assembly, next to the MLAs of the Ajit Pawar-led faction of the Nationalist Congress Party

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