- The meeting took place at Sharad Pawar’s residence in Mumbai
- Nawab Malik, a senior NCP leader, is a cabinet minister in the Shiv Sena-led MVA govt
- NCP has described Malik’s arrest as “politically motivated”
NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar on Thursday held a meeting with party’s senior leaders to discuss giving charge of portfolios held by jailed Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik to his two other cabinet colleagues, sources said. The meeting took place at Sharad Pawar’s residence here and was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, ministers Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal and Dilip Walse Patil and senior leaders Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare, the sources said.
Malik, a senior NCP leader, is a cabinet minister who holds minority affairs and skill development portfolios in the Shiv Sena-led MVA government. The 62-year-old NCP leader, arrested in late February by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged money laundering case, is currently in jail under judicial custody. “The party’s top brass discussed the option of giving charge of Malik’s portfolios (one each) to two of the NCP’s other cabinet ministers,” the sources said.
The NCP has described Malik’s arrest as “politically motivated” and repeatedly said there was no question of the party asking him to resign from the cabinet. However, the main opposition BJP has been pressing for Malik’s ouster from the cabinet.
The leaders are also learnt to have discussed appointing two working presidents for the party’s Mumbai unit, which is being headed by Malik. “Malik will continue to remain the president of the party’s Mumbai unit. But discussion was held today on appointing two working presidents to the city unit,” the sources added.
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