Alpesh Thakor resigns from Congress, says party ‘betrayed my community’
Three Congress legislators, including prominent backward community leader Aplesh Thakor, on Wednesday resigned from the party in a move that could dent its prospects in the coming Lok Sabha elections in the state.
However, denying rumours that they were joining the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the three said they would ask the speaker to consider them independent lawmakers.
The anti-defection law is not applicable if an MLA becomes an unattached member in the House. In other words, it means they are equivalent to independent legislators.
Thakor joined the Congress just before the 2017 assembly elections and had won from Radhanpur assembly constituency. He was also appointed secretary and given the responsibility of handling the Bihar unit of the party . Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil is the All India Congress Committee State in-charge of Bihar.
Along with Thakor, Bayad legislator Dhavalsinh Zala and Vav legislator Geniben Thakor also resigned from the Congress.
“Neither we will resign from the assembly nor will we join the BJP. Now onwards, we can be considered as independent MLAS in the state assembly”, said Thakor, soon after sending his resignation letter to Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda.
In his resignation letter, the 43-year-old lblamed the Congress for betraying his community. “I cannot be in the party that neglected and betrayed my community,” he wrote in his letter to the party.
“I can fairly claim that of 77 seats the Congress won in the 2017 assembly elections, the Thakor Sena played important role in 33 seats. Despite that, the Sena members have not been included even in taluka and district level Congress bodies.”
Chavda said, “I will give any reaction only after talking to Alpesh.”
Thakor has been under pressure to quit from the Kshatriya Thakor Sena, the group that he had once founded and which served as the launch pad of his political career.
Hours before news of his resignation came, there were reports that the group had given him a 24-hour ultimatum to leave the Congress.
Since July 2018, seven Congress MLAs, including these 3 Thakor leaders, have left the Congress. The other four --- Kunwarji Bawaliya, Asha Patel, Purshottam Sabariya and Jawahar Chavda --- have joined the BJP. The Congress now has 69 legislators in the 182-member assembly, compared to the BJP’s 101.
Thakor’s exit has been speculated for months. But the Gujarat legislator insisted that he was upset with the party but not on his way out.
By sending their resignation letter to the Congress state president and not the assembly speaker, the three have left the door open for their return.
The backward community leader’s resignation may help the BJP, which has been trying to woo Thakor’s OBC community which accounts for 12% of Gujarat’s over 60 million population. The BJP already has Congress turn-coat Kunwarji Bawaliya, who is considered influential leader of Kolis, another prominent OBC community that accounts for 22% of Gujarat’s population. All 26 Lok sabha seats in Gujarat go to the polls on April 23.
“Alpesh has been trying to prove that without Thakor Sena, the Congress will break apart. The BJP is likely to take him in the party fold, but only after Lok Sabha elections are over. At the same time, the BJP may offer him a cabinet berth that he is probably eyeing,” said political analyst Nayna Doshi.