BJP Stages Protest at Maharashtra State Assembly Demanding Minister Nawab Malik’s Removal

© AFP 2023 / STRDELIndia’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists wave party flags and shout slogans (File)
India’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists wave party flags and shout slogans (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
India’s law enforcement and economic intelligence agency, the Enforcement Directorate, arrested Maharashtra's State Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) politician, Nawab Malik, on 23 February in a money-laundering case involving global terrorist and fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party in India's state of Maharashtra, staged a protest on Thursday on the steps of the Legislative Assembly against the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government’s decision not to suspend Nawab Malik from his ministerial post.
Malik, minister for minority affairs in the state, has been arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money-laundering investigation linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
The leader of the Opposition in the state assembly and former state chief Devendra Fadnavis has said that for the first time in Maharashtra's history a state cabinet minister has been arrested over links with associates of Dawood Ibrahim, accused of masterminding the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai.
Questioning the state government's motivations, Fadnavis asked: "Why is Malik being protected? Is this government committed to Dawood Ibrahim? Under whose pressure is the government working?"
Fadnavis also said that state chief Thackeray should break his silence over the entire episode.
The BJP has also called for a complete suspension of business in the legislature during the state assembly's Budget Session until Malik is sacked. The session was scheduled to start on Thursday, 3 March, and set to end on 25 March.
The first day of the Maharashtra legislature's Budget Session was the scene of unprecedented chaos as the state's governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, left the central hall of the state assembly (Vidhan Bhavan) without finishing his address to the Joint Session of both the Houses, because of heckling by politicians.
As soon as the 79-year-old governor arrived on stage in the central hall, legislators of the ruling state government shouted slogans against him and praising 17th-century Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
State Congress president Nana Patole criticised the governor for some of his recent remarks about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and said he should apologise.
During a programme in Aurangabad city, the governor emphasised the role of guru (teacher) while citing examples of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chandragupta Maurya, the 4th-century BC founder of the Maurya in ancient India.
"Many chakravartis (emperors) and maharajas were born on this land. But who would have asked about Chandragupta had there not been Chanakya? Who would have asked about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had there not been Samarth (Ramdas)," he asked, referring respectively to a 4th-century BC philosopher and guide of Chandragupta Maurya and a 17th-century Marathi Hindu saint and philosopher.
Patole and several other state politicians objected to the governor's remarks, saying it hurt the feelings of devotees of the Maratha warrior king and the whole of Maharashtra. They argued that there is no evidence that there was a teacher-disciple relationship between Ramdas and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
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