Thakor Kshatriya Sena founder and Gujarat MLA Alpesh Thakor on Tuesday said more than 15 state legislators will quit the Congress soon, reported ANI. “Wait and watch, more than 15 MLAs are leaving Congress, everyone is distressed,” he said. “More than half of the MLAs are upset.”
The Congress and its allies won 77 seats in the Gujarat Assembly election in 2017 while the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged 99 out of 182 seats. However, the Opposition’s tally dropped to 74 after Thakor and two other lawmakers quit the Opposition party on April 10, a day before the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
“It was our decision and the voice of my conscience that we don’t want to be here,” Thakor told ANI. “My organisation voiced their opinion that we need not be there where we don’t have respect and there’s no talk of their rights.”
Thakor’s comments come at a time when speculations are rife that he might join the BJP. On Monday, he met Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel in Gandhinagar. Bayad Congress MLA Dhavalsinh Zala was also present.
“We want to work for our people and the poor with help of the government,” the news agency quoted Thakor as saying. “My people are poor and backward. They need [the] support of [the] government. I was disturbed that I couldn’t give that to my people what I had intended to.”
“Congress failed to understand what people want [during the Lok Sabha polls],” he added. “They only repeatedly shouted ‘scam happened, scam happened’. There was no scam, the scam was in their minds, the ‘chemical locha’ was in their minds.”
Thakor said the Congress was bound to lose the polls because it did not have presence on the ground. “Congress had no booth agents at more than 500 booths,” Thakor claimed. “They have lost connection with the people on the ground and its leaders only do press conferences sitting in the party office. They should rather reach out to people in villages and try to solve their problems.”
Thakor said he had advised the Congress not to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh during the campaign, but they did not heed his counsel. “PM Modi is the face of non-corruption while RSS is the face for nationalism,” he asserted.
The BJP, however, did not divulge details of the meeting between Thakor and Patel. “There is no such development with regards to Alpesh Thakor [on joining the BJP],” state spokesperson Bharat Pandya told PTI on Monday. “The meeting might be for some other reason as he is an MLA.”
Thakor rose to prominence during his campaign for the rights of his community, which is categorised among the Other Backward Class, in Gujarat in 2016. He joined the Congress the following year and was elected to the Assembly from Radhanpur.
However, he had problems with the state Congress leadership, which he felt was ignoring his community. He met Congress President Rahul Gandhi in January to raise 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 a few seats in the Lok Sabha elections.