Explained: outspoken statements and combative politics, Nawab Malik’s signature style
Nawab Malik, who served as the national spokesperson for the Nationalist Congress Party (PCN) for more than a decade, has a reputation for being less flexible than most people appointed to such a position.
Malik, the Maharashtra cabinet minister who was arrested by the Execution Directorate Wednesday as part of a money laundering case against underworld don and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, is often seen as being brusque with even his party colleagues and close supporters.
The five-time MP’s family hail from Dhuswa village in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh and have had businesses in Mumbai, including scrap metal, since before he was born in 1959.
Malik was drawn to politics while at university and, attracted by the charisma of Sanjay Gandhi, he joined the Youth Congress and, in 1980, the Sanjay Vichar Manch started by Maneka Gandhi. In 1984, when he was 26, Malik contested Lok Sabha’s election as the Manch candidate for the Bombay North East seat. Battling stalwarts Gurudas Kamat (Congress) and Pramod Mahajan (BJP), Malik only got 2,950 votes.
Malik bid for a Congressional ticket in the 1991 Bombay Municipal Corporation elections. the Samajwadi party. He contested Vidhan Sabha’s election for Nehru Nagar’s seat as the PS candidate in 1995 and finished behind Shiv Sena winner Suryanat Mahadik.
After this result was overturned by the Supreme Court, Malik won the by-vote which took place in 1996. In the 1999 Assembly elections he again won the seat – one of only two winners PS in Maharashtra. The SP joined the Congress-NCP, which formed the coalition government after this election, and the leader of the Maharashtra SP, Abu Azmi, chose Malik for the ministerial position offered to his party.
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The SP was looking to expand its base among North Indian migrants in Mumbai – the punching bag of the Shiv Sena – and Malik’s background and roots in the North Indian-dominated scrap metal trade helped. Malik was appointed Minister of State for Housing and Auqaf. But the two men soon separated. According to PS leaders, Malik resented the authoritarian control of Azmi, who had never won an election. Malik himself later told the Indian Express that he disagreed with the SP’s transition to “a Muslim-centric party” in Maharashtra. “I had ideological differences, I was against the communitarization of politics. Some leaders were trying to turn the PS into a Muslim League,” he said.
On October 7, 2001, four days after Azmi expelled Malik from the SP, he joined the NCP.
In 2003, social activist Anna Hazare named Malik one of three “corrupt” ministers in the Congress-NCP government, accusing him of stopping the reconstruction of a chawl for a private builder. Malik attributed the decision to the previous BJP-Sena government, but had to resign as labor minister in 2005 after a commission passed restrictions against him. Three years later, it is brought back into the same portfolio.
In 2009, the returning Congress-NCP government did not welcome him to Cabinet, but the NCP appointed him as its spokesperson – and he has continued in that post almost without a break ever since.
In his new role, Malik regularly tackled sensitive issues that most others chose to avoid. In 2011, MP CM Ajit Pawar of Maharashtra stepped on the floor of the Assembly to arrest Malik when he demanded a CBI investigation into the death of a girl whose body was found in the car. a top BJP leader. In the 2014 elections, when the Congress-NCP government was overthrown, Malik lost by a narrow margin of 1,007 votes. In 2016 he was involved in an infamous brawl with fellow CPN and former MP Sanjay Patil, with reports of gunfire. Later, the two patched things up.
Malik declared assets of Rs 5.74 crore in the 2019 assembly elections. After the NCP, Sena and Congress formed a government, Malik was again inducted into the Cabinet. The portfolio, however, was the least publicized Minority Affairs and Skills Development.
The arrest of Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan thrust Malik into the national media spotlight last year as he launched an attack on Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officer Sameer Wankhede who was then in charge of the case.
Months earlier, the Wankhede-led NCB had arrested Malik’s son-in-law, Sameer Shabbir Khan, a businessman married to Malik’s eldest daughter, Nilofer. The NCB claimed to have evidence of an exchange of money between Sameer Khan and a British national, Karan Sajnani, who was allegedly detained with drugs.
Malik, who believed the arrest was part of a political plot, remained silent for months. Aryan Khan’s arrest has given him a chance to fight back. He revealed information that raised serious due process questions during the raid on the NCB cruise ship Cordelia and accused Sameer Wankhede of planting bogus drug deals and acting as a pawn of the BJP to harass political opponents. Malik’s allegations against Wankhede prompted a libel suit, but also led to a Vigilance investigation against the officer, who was returned to his parent organization, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, in January this year.