BJP stages protest ahead of Maha budget session; seeks minister Nawab Malik's removal

Mumbai, Mar 3 (PTI) Ahead of the Maharashtra legislature's budget session, BJP legislators staged a protest on steps of the Vidhan Bhavan here on Thursday against the state government's decision not to remove minister Nawab Malik from his post.

Last week, the Enforcement Directorate arrested state Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.

On Thursday, BJP legislators, led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis, LoP in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar and state BJP president Chandrakant Patil shouted slogans against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.

This MVA government is sympathetic towards those who helped Dawood and his aides, convicted in the (1993) Mumbai bomb blasts. We condemn the decision to retain Malik as minister when there has been a precedent to remove a minister arrested under some charges, Fadnavis said.

The state legislature's budget session starting Thursday will conclude on March 25.

The opposition BJP in Maharashtra has said it wants the current session to be fruitful and wants to discuss many issues, provided the MVA government sacks Malik.

The MVA leaders have countered the BJP, claiming the saffron party was using central agencies to target the state government.