Alpesh Thakore quits Congress, takes one MLA along

Ahmedabad: After days of pulls and pressures and flip-flops, maverick Gujarat legislator Alpesh Thakore finally resigned from the Congress on Wednesday, along with another MLA owing allegiance to his Gujarat Kshatriya Thakore Sena, claiming that the party’s state leadership had “sidelined” him and not given him respect.

Alpesh Thakore, who is an MLA from Radhanpur, however, said that he and his associate Dhavalsinh Jhala, the legislator from Bayad, would continue as MLAs and would “never join the BJP”.

They would, however, campaign for Swarupji Thakore who is contesting the Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat as an Independent and Natwarji Thakore fighting the Unjha Assembly by-election, both in north Gujarat.

In his resignation letter to state Congress President Amit Chavda, the OBC leader claimed he, his community and supporters were feeling “cheated” and “ignored” within the party set-up and were suffocated.

“The youth of my organization are angry over insults and being ignored by Congress. To me, my organization is supreme… It is my organisation’s order that I should not be at the place where I am ignored, insulted and betrayed.”

Speaking to reporters later at his office in Ahmedabad, he said while he had resigned from all posts of Congress, he would continue to remain a legislator.

Hinting at his future, he said: “We will show the strength of our organization and it is we who will make the king of the state in 2022.”

Congress sources said Alpesh Thakore had been smarting after the party denied him a ticket to contest the Patan Lok Sabha seat, which he claimed he could easily win, and chose veteran party hand and former MP Jagdish Thakore.

The party also ignored the Thakore Sena’s demand for ticket to contest the Sabarkantha and Banaskantha seats.

The development came hours after the core committee of the Gujarat Kshatriya Thakore Sena, which he had himself floated several years ago, late on Tuesday night, decided to sever all ties with the Congress and exhorted Thakore to resign from the party.

“During our meeting we decided that the Thakore Sena would have no ties with the Congress. We did not consult Alpesh Thakore but we have conveyed him to make up his mind within 24 hours,” Jagat Thakore, member of the Thakore Sena, told reporters.

Alpesh Thakore had joined the Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly elections and was elected from Radhanpur seat on a party ticket. He recently met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his displeasure against the functioning of the party’s state leadership.

However, days after this, he claimed his issues were sorted out. He was learnt to be miffed with the party leadership that they selected senior Congress leader Jagdish Thakore for the Patan seat.

Asked about this, he said: “We have no issues. You may give tickets to whoever you want but at least consult and take the youth in confidence.”