Nawab Malik
Nawab Malik

Mumbai: Union Minister, Ramdas Athavale’s Republican Party of India (RPI) an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has fielded Deepak Nikalje, the brother of the jailed underworld gangster, Chhota Rajan, from Phaltan constituency.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Nawab Malik, the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Mumbai president and spokesperson, stated, the BJP has become a safe haven for the mafias

“The BJP is giving refuge to goons and mafia since they have come to power. This is their way to impose authoritarian rule over public,” said Malik on Wednesday. In 2018, Nikalje was charged of rape and sexually harassing a 22-year-old-woman. The woman had also accused Nikalje of exploiting her with the fake promise of marriage. Malik said, this is not the first time the BJP has fielded gangsters.

“Earlier, Parshottam Solanki, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, was inducted in Narendra Modi’s cabinet, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat,” said Malik. He added, Solanki was involved in a number of corruption cases.

The NCP leader further informed, BJP is not aware of the problems of the people of Maharashtra. With the over-hyped nationalism, the government is trying to distract the voters from real issues like, unemployment, drought, inflation and pollution, which have severely affected the people of Maharashtra. “Local leaders of BJP are controlled by those who are sitting in New Delhi, who have no idea of the ground reality here,” said Malik.

Earlier in the Loksabha elections, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has campaigned for the Congress-NCP alliance. Ahead of the assembly elections, the Raj Thackeray-led party has announced two lists of contesting candidates.

Malik informed, there were speculations of MNS entering into an alliance with the Congress-NCP, but it didn’t develop in the final stage. “MNS campaigned against the BJP in the last elections but now they have chosen to contest the elections on their own. This clearly depicts their grudge against the ruling government,” said Malik. He underlined the importance of opposition parties to unite against the saffron parties.

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