Gujarat MLA Alpesh Thakor and two other lawmakers on Wednesday quit the Congress after Thakor Kshatriya Sena, the outfit founded by him, decided to withdraw its support to the party, PTI reported. Earlier in the day, the outfit gave him an ultimatum to leave the Congress within 24 hours.
MLA Dhavalsinh Thakor and MLA Bharatji Thakor are the other two legislators who quit the Rahul Gandhi-led party, ANI reported. Alpesh Thakor ruled out joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In his purported resignation letter, Alpesh Thakor said that the Thakor Kshatriya Sena was of topmost priority for him and that the Congress had insulted and ignored him. “I should not stay in a party where I am being insulted, ignored and betrayed,” Alpesh Thakor said. “I am not going to do poll campaigning for or against any Lok Sabha candidate [of Congress or BJP]. I will campaign for Thakor Sena candidates who are contesting from Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat and Unjha assembly seat (bye-poll).”
Meanwhile, Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda said he will comment only after speaking to Alpesh Thakor.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. Gujarat votes on April 23.
Jagat Thakor, a member of the outfit, had reportedly told a group of journalists in Ahmedabad earlier that the Thakor Sena had taken the decision at a meeting on Tuesday night.
“We have not consulted Alpesh Thakor before taking this decision,” PTI had quoted him as saying. “After the meeting, 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.”
Jagat Thakor accused the Congress of ignoring the outfit in their decision making and in candidate selection for the Lok Sabha polls.
Alpesh Thakor rose to prominence during his campaign for the rights of the Thakor community, which is categorised among the other backward classes, in Gujarat in 2016. He joined the Congress in 2017 and was elected a legislator from the Radhanpur constituency.
In recent months, there were reports that Alpesh Thakor had problems with the state Congress leadership, which he felt was ignoring his community, prompting speculation that he may join the Bharatiya Janata Party. Alpesh Thakor has quashed rumours of defecting to the BJP. He also met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in January to bring up his concerns about the party’s functioning. He was also rumoured to be upset that the party did not field him or candidates of his choice in some seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
On Tuesday, former Congress MLA Jodhaji Thakor defected to the BJP. Two Thakor Sena members are also reportedly contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat as Independents and will fight against Congress candidates.