Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor, on Wednesday, 10 April, resigned from party saying it has “betrayed” him, and that Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena, an outfit floated by Alpesh, comes on “top priority”.
Thakor, appointed national secretary after joining the party in 2017, in a letter to Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda, wrote:
“My life is associated with social work. I joined politics to help the poor and my community (Thakors). I had dreams to bring light to the life of poor people. However, across Gujarat, the poor youth who are part of my Sena (Thakor Sena) feel insulted as their issues are being ignored. For me my Thakor Sena is of top priority. If I had the greed for power, then I and my Sena wouldn’t have joined Congress during their time of struggle. Thus taking this decision is quite painful for me. My Sena has commanded I should not be part of a system where we are insulted, ignored and betrayed. Therefore I resign from all posts. I had never imagined such a situation would arise. With a heavy heart and after much betrayal I resign from all posts in the Congress party. All we wanted was respect and all we got in return was betrayal.”
Amit Chavda said he will speak with Thakor before saying anything to the media.
Hours after the resignation, Alpesh said, “I will not join BJP. Two of my MLAs (MLA Dhavalsinh Thakor and MLA Bharatji Thakor, who also resigned from Congress party) and I will complete our 5 years’ tenure as MLA.”
Earlier in the day, the Thakor Sena decided to severe its ties with the grand old party and asked the legislator to resign from it and clear his stand within 24 hours.
Speculation was rife that Thakor may quit the Congress as he was unhappy with the local party leadership.
Meanwhile, Patidar leader Hardik Patel told a local TV channel that he would meet Alpesh on Wednesday evening and persuade him to not leave Congress.
“Congress is on its way to win more seats, thus the BJP is making attempts to break up the Congress by poaching our MLAs, corporators and other leaders. I will try and meet him today evening. His (Alpesh’s) mother-in-law passed away recently, may she rest in peace. I will meet and talk about this in peace at his home.”Hardik Patel to local TV channel
Don’t Agree With Alpesh: Guj Congress Committee
President of Gujarat’s Congress Committee Amit Chavda said in a tweet that Alpesh must have taken such a decision under personal, political and financial pressure. “If he suddenly believes that Cong is not the right party for him to be in – We do not agree with it,” Chavda tweeted hours after Alpesh tendered his resignation.
Gujarat Congress Spokesperson Manish Doshi told The Quint, “Congress is an organisation for the public and if anyone has any complaints they can approach us and we can reach a solution. We will reach a solution by evening. He (Alpesh) is the leader of the Thakor Sena and was given a ticket by the Congress, which he converted to a victory. There is no question of disrespecting the Thakor Sena here.”
Though Alpesh was keen to contest from Patan Lok Sabha seat, the Congress chose former MP Jagdish Thakor over him.
The party also ignored Thakor Sena's demand for ticket to a member of the outfit from Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat.
"The Thakor Sena, during the core committee meeting here late Tuesday night, passed a resolution to severe ties with the Congress. We have not consulted Alpesh Thakor before taking this decision," Jagat Thakor, a member of the outfit, told reporters in Ahmedabad.
‘Cong Ignoring Thakor’
"After the meet, we told him to make his stand clear within 24 hours. If he wants to remain with the Congress, then he has to leave the Thakor Sena. And if he wants to be with us, then he has to resign from the party and as an MLA," he said.
The Congress was "ignoring" the Thakor Sena while taking important decisions, including selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, he said.
Though Alpesh Thakor heads the outfit, he was not present in the meeting.
After emerging as a prominent OBC leader in Gujarat, he joined the Congress before the 2017 Assembly polls and won from Radhanpur seat in Patan district.
He recently met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his displeasure against the functioning of the party's state leadership.
The OBC leader claimed his community and supporters were feeling “cheated” and “ignored”.
He also said that some "weak leaders" were at the helm of party affairs in Gujarat, an apparent reference to state party president Amit Chavda. The MLA could not be contacted for his comments in the matter.
(With inputs from PTI)