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Maharashtra: NCP minister facing rape charges may step down

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said the rape allegations against Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde are serious in nature and the party will have to take a decision on the latter’s continuation in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. He added he will discuss the matter with his NCP colleagues before taking any decision.

“Being a political party, we will have to discuss it and make a decision considering all the views. Munde has explained the matter in detail and it is my responsibility to convey it to the senior leaders and take the next step as soon as possible. I do not think this should be delayed,” Pawar said.

Pawar’s statement is being seen as an indication that the party leadership is likely to ask Munde to resign.

A woman has accused Munde of raping her on the pretext of marriage and other favours. She has alleged police were not accepting her written complaint against Munde and that her life is under threat.

Munde has rejected the allegations and accused the woman, her sister, and their brother of trying to defame and blackmail him since 2019. He met Pawar, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, and minister Chhagan Bhujbal over the matter on Wednesday.

Munde held the weekly janata darbar at the NCP office on Thursday and met the state NCP chief Jayant Patil. NCP leader Praful Patel also met Pawar and the two are said to have discussed the issue.

Jayant Patil said it will be unfair to take any action without going into details of the allegations. “Munde has gone to the Bombay high court over threat and blackmail by the woman and police are investigating the matter. Allegations are serious but taking action without verifying the facts would be improper.”

By Faisal Malik / Hindustan Times

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