The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders and workers, in a bid to put up show of unity, staged a sit in protest at the Mahatma Gandhi statue to protest against the NCP Minister Nawab Malik’s arrest by ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act saying that Malik will come clean. Although senior ministers and leaders from NCP and Congress including Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan, Dilip Wasle-Patil, Supriya Sule were present in large numbers, Shiv Sena ministers and MPs including MPs Arvind Sawant and Anil Desai and also its cadre were missing.
Industry minister Subhash Desai was only exception while other ministers including Anil Parab and Uday Samant were conspicuous by their absence. Interestingly, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, who takes on BJP on various issues, was also not seen at the protest.
Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, Party MP Sanjay Raut could not make it as they were in Uttar Pradesh for poll rallies being addressed by Aaditya Thackeray. Only exception was Shiv Sena legislators Sunil Raut, Manisha Kayande, Yamini Jadhav and Yogesh Kadam, Sunil Shinde, Sanjay Potnis, Ajay Chaudhari, former legislator Vinod Ghosalkar, party deputy leader Sachin Ahir and former Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar who took part in the protest and interacted with the leaders from the NCP and Congress.
However, NCP and Congress during private conversation at the protest venue expressed serious displeasure over absence of Shiv Sena’s other ministers, senior leaders and Sainiks in large number despite the party is also targeted by the estranged ally BJP by levelling corruption charges. NCP and Congress had expected that Shiv Sena would mobilize its cadre with full force to prove its strength ahead of the crucial BMC elections especially when BJP is pursuing its Mission 2022.
NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said, "Since it was decided not to hold cabinet meeting this week, some Sena ministers have gone to Uttar Pradesh and some have gone to Konkan for a yatra. But, the Sena leaders will be joining the protest. Yesterday, we held meeting with CM Uddhav Thackeray. Also, senior Sena minister Subhash Desai was present when we addressed media after meeting with CM. So, Sena is with us and their leaders will be joining the protest soon."
State NCP President and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil said that the allegations against Malik were "baseless", while Revenue Minister Thorat claimed that the ED was being used to silence political opponents.
BJP demands Malik’s resignation
The opposition BJP at various places in the state organized agitation demanding Malik’s resignation. State BJP Presiddnt Chandrakant Patil, who took part at agitation at Dadar, said Malik has no right to remain a part of the state cabinet following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. He said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also has no moral right to remain in power as the situation in the state is 'extremely chaotic'. Patil made the statements here while participating in an agitation against Malik.
Party legislator Ashish Shelar led the agitation in Khar. The BJP workers burnt the effigies of Malik and Dawood Ibrahim.
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