Talking to reporters in Nagpur, Praful Patel said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's letter to Ajit Pawar on the issue of Malik being unwelcome in the ruling 'Mahayuti' shouldn't be taken out of context
Praful Patel. Pic/X@praful_patel
Praful Patel, working president of the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) group, on Friday called Nawab Malik a senior colleague and said where he sits in the Maharashtra assembly wasn't an issue. Patel said they have not yet spoken to Malik about his political views, reported news ageny PTI.
Talking to reporters in Nagpur, Praful Patel said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's letter to Ajit Pawar on the issue of Malik being unwelcome in the ruling 'Mahayuti' shouldn't be taken out of context, reported PTI.
He also visited both the deputy CMs at the Vidhan Bhavan.
"We haven't spoken to Malik about his political views after we decided to join the Mahayuti government on July 2. After his release (from jail) on medical bail, we paid him a courtesy visit," he said.
Praful Patel said the Ajit Pawar group, which has staked claim over the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) name and its symbol, has not submitted an affidavit on behalf of Malik to the Election Commission of India, reported PTI.
He slammed the Opposition for raking up Malik's seating issue in the assembly saying it has nothing constructive to offer after its defeat in the recently held assembly elections, reported PTI.
"Even Parliament is functioning well now. It is clear Modi will return to power in 2024 and Shinde-Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar will form government in the state later next year," he asserted, reported PTI.
Earlier in the day, Ajit Pawar said he would first speak with Malik to understand the former minister's position about his political affiliation before explaining his NCP group's stand on the matter, reported PTI.
Meanwhile, NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto said that as a party spokesman, Malik fought day and night for many leaders of the Ajit Pawar group. "I can vouch for it because I was an integral part of that journey," he said.
"Today, these leaders, instead of supporting him, are turning their back on him. Ungratefulness..," he wrote on X.
Out on medical bail after the ED arrested him in February 2022 in a money-laundering probe, Malik attended the winter session of the state legislature here for the first time on Thursday and was later seen in the office of Ajit Pawar-led faction of the NCP in the legislature complex. In the House, he was seen sitting in the last row, next to an MLA of the Ajit Pawar faction, reported PTI.
In his letter to Ajit Pawar, Fadnavis said Malik has the right to attend the assembly as an MLA and added that "we (the BJP) do not harbour any personal animosity or grudge" against him but it would not be appropriate to induct him in the Maha Yuti considering the "kind of allegations he is facing", reported PTI.
"We agree that it is your prerogative (to decide) who should be inducted in your party. But every constituent party (of the Maha Yuti) has to think as to whether it would harm the alliance. Hence, we are opposed to this," Fadnavis added.
(With inputs from PTI)