The appointment of Malik, 60, who has been a state and national spokesperson of the party for several years, was made by NCP President Sharad Pawar.
Born in Duswa, Uttar Pradesh, he migrated to Mumbai in 1970 and has been elected legislator four times, thrice from Nehru Nagar in Kurla and once from Anushakti Nagar, both in eastern Mumbai.
He had served as a minister in the cabinet during the erstwhile Congress-NCP governments, handling a variety of portfolios. He quit in 2005 following allegations of corruption levelled by social crusader Anna Hazare.
Later, he bounced back to the cabinet and was also appointed a Guardian Minister of Mumbai, and is reportedly considered close to the Pawar family.
Often called the 'Mr. Cool' in party circles, Malik is fluent in multiple languages and is known for his accessibility, incisive comments and quotes on important developments in the state and national politics, besides heated debates on various television channels.
He replaces former NCP city chief Sachin Aher who abruptly quit to join the Shiv Sena last month, with many other NCP legislators and party leaders following suit.
They included at least three sitting MLAs from Navi Mumbai, Satara and Akole, a woman state party chief of the Women's Wing, several municipal corporators and a large number of grassroots activists in what were reputed to be strongholds of the NCP. The outflow is expected to continue in the coming weeks.
With his persuasive skills, Malik is expected to boost the confidence of the leaders and cadres ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections in October, said a party leader.
( With inputs from IANS )