By Sushil Kutty
The NCP’s Nawab Malik continues to remain Maharashtra’s Minority Affairs Minister just like the BJP’s Minority Affairs Minister at the Centre Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. The difference is Nawab is in the custody of a central government enforcement agency, while the Naqvi can move about freely, reinforcing the belief that the only good Muslim in the India of Narendra Modi is the Naqvi-sort, not the Nawab kind.
Naqvi and Nawab are the two faces of Indian Muslims in today’s India. Movie buffs will remember that Ram Gopal Verma’s ‘Company’ had a ‘Malik’ character playing a gang-lord with a ruthless streak. Now, we have the BJP linking Nawab Malik with the real D-Company’s murky doings.
So, Nawab allegedly had links with Dawood Ibrahim’s real-estate deals with Nawab’s son also in the bad books of the Enforcement Directorate. The question is, should
Uddhav Thackeray’s Maha Vikas Aghadi Government sack minister Nawab Malik? BJP leaders are insistent.
The party’s Chandrakant Patil has threatened that the BJP will not let the Maharashtra assembly function till as long as Malik is not removed from Thackeray’s MVA ministry. Sounds familiar? Yeah, But, but then it was the Parliament when opposition party MPs sat on a dharna outside Parliament trying their level best to hold up Parliament.
The Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi was one of the Opposition leaders venting venom against the Modi government then. Now, the BJP appears to be paying the MVA in the same coin. What must be galling to the BJP is that nothing thrown at the MVA is making the MVA break. The MVA continues to remain united despite all and sundry provocations from the BJP.
The BJP’s ploy is to break up the Maha Vikas Aghadi, compel the Shiv Sena to exit from the troika which has sworn to remain steadfast to each other no matter what the provocation. Nawab Malik’s arrest has hurt the NCP to an extent, but the BJP’s hope that the Shiv Sena would reconsider its tie-up with NCP and the Congress after Malik’s arrest have been dashed.
The BJP wanted ‘Nawab’ the ordinary fellow, not Nawab the Malik! The BJP’s Chandrakant Patil is livid that Uddhav Thackeray hasn’t so far sacked Malik. Nawab Malik was arrested in a money-laundering case. His links with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim is allegedly not just another money laundering case, it has the potential to damage the politician as also the political party to which he belongs.
The problem for the BJP is Nawab Malik’s arrest has not led to a panic-like situation in the MVA. Instead, we saw Thackeray in a luncheon meeting with Telangana Chief Minister KCR, warning that Modi 2024 is pipedream bent on cobbling a coalition of political parties at odds with Modi and the BJP.
The Maharashtra BJP wants President’s Rule in Maharashtra. This has been duly taken note of by the MVA Government. Everybody of note, from deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar to NCP’s Supriya Sule and state Home minister Dilip Walse Patil sat on a dharna at Mahatma Gandhi statue near the Mantralaya.
The game-plan of the MVA isn’t rocket science to understand. “The BJP is not God, let them do whatever they want. We will answer it at every level,” Thackeray’s megaphone Sanjay Raut reiterated, saying that the MVA Government wouldn’t budge from its stand to stick on with Nawab Malik.
The BJP’s point-man against the MVA is none other than former BJP Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who has knowledge of the Shiv Sena and NCP’s daring-dos when Fadnavis used to rule Maharashtra and Mumbai. There is a sneaking feeling that Fadnavis when he was Chief Minister collected papers linking state politicians with the Mumbai underworld.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says she stands with Malik. But she is up against Devendra Fadnavis who knows the “secret details’ of Nawab Malik’s connections with the D-Gang. It’s Fadnavis who handed over to the Enforcement Directorate information of Nawab Malik’s land-dealings with Dawood’s Mumbai henchmen. Nawab Malik’s ED custody ends March 3. What happens next is anybody’s guess. The BJP’s game-plan it to divest the MVA of Shiv Sena. (IPA Service)