Mumbai, March 2 (IANS): Toughening its stance, the Nationalist Congress Party on Wednesday made it clear that its Minister Nawab Malik "will not be forced to resign come whatever may", on the eve of the Maharashtra Legislature Budget Session starting on March 3 (tomorrow, Thursday).
State NCP President and Minister Jayant Patil told mediapersons that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) made it clear last month -- after Malik was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on February 23 in an alleged money-laundering case -- that he would continue in the ministry.
"Let the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party create any ruckus in the House... Our stand is unchanged -- No resignation means no resignation," a grim Patil said.
Attacking the BJP, he said it has become habitual for the opposition party to hurl false allegations against the government prior to the legislative sessions, demand resignation and then disrupt the legislature.
Patil also said that the MVA is ready to hold the Speaker's election during the session and urged the Opposition to sit across the table and decide.
"We shall invite them for the session-eve tea-party as always, but they will boycott it as usual. We appeal to the Opposition to join the tea-party, hold discussions with the government to ensure all issues are resolved," Patil exhorted.
His comments came against the backdrop of the BJP state President Chandrakant Patil's threat on Tuesday that they would not allow the legislature to function until Malik resigned.
NCP President Sharad Pawar has convened a review meeting with all-party ministers this afternoon, followed by a MVA meeting to discuss the major issues likely to figure during the Budget Session.
At the evening meeting, all ministers of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress will join the discussions even as the BJP sharpens its knives on various issues to corner the MVA government during the session.