Cong turncoats Alpesh Thakor, aide lose Gujarat bypolls

Thakor rose to prominence with the Patidar reservation stir leader Hardik Patel, now with the Congress, and independent MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. Photo/PTI

The opposition Congress and ruling BJP won three seats each in the bypolls to six assembly constituencies in Gujarat, the results of which were declared on Thursday.

The Congress managed to wrest one seat away from the BJP.

Congress turncoat MLAs Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala, who contested on BJP ticket, lost.

The results take the Congress' tally in the 182- member House to 72, and that of the BJP to 103.

Congress's Jashu Patel defeated Zala from Bayad seat in Arvalli district by a margin of over 700 votes.

Before the results were declared, Zala had accepted his defeat and left the counting centre.

In Tharad seat of Banaskantha, Congress candidate Gulabsinh Rajput made a comeback after trailing in initial rounds, and defeated the BJP's Jivraj Patel by over 6,400 votes.

In Kheralu seat in Mehsana, the BJP's Ajmalji Thakor defeated the Congress' Babuji Thakor by 29,000 votes.

In Radhanpur seat, the BJP's Alpesh Thakor was defeated by the Congress' Raghu Desai by over 3,800 votes.

In Lunawada, BJP candidate Jignesh Sevak won against the Congress' Gulabsinh Chauhan by over 11,000 votes.

In Amraiwadi, the BJP's Jagdish Patel, who was trailing behind Congress' Dharmendra Patel initially, managed to come back and won by over 5,500 votes.

Prior to the byelections, the Congress held Radhanpur and Bayad seats while the other four were with the BJP.

Congress snatched Tharad seat from the ruling party.

Byelections were necessitated in Bayad and Radhanpur after sitting Congress MLAs Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala left the party and resigned as MLAs, claiming that the Congress was doing "injustice" to the OBC Thakor community.

Byelections to Kheralu, Tharad, Amraiwadi and Lunawada were necessitated after sitting BJP MLAs got elected to the Lok Sabha.

Following his defeat, Alpesh Thakor claimed his rivals resorted to caste-based politics and money-power.

"I accept my defeat. I express my gratitude to Thakor community as it voted for me. However, caste-based politics, money power and enticements played a role in my defeat. I lost because of a conspiracy," he said.

Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda said the people of Radhanpur and Bayad rejected those who betrayed them.

"People of Radhanpur and Bayad have taught a lesson to those who used to claim that they won on their own in 2017, not because of the Congress. People have crushed the ego of such people. People gave a clear message that those who betray their own people can never have a place in public life," he said.

Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said the party leaders will brainstorm on the reasons for the defeat on three seats.

"Bayad and Radhanpur were with the Congress earlier. Though we have lost Tharad, we won on three seats, which is also important. Senior party leaders will sit together to find out the reasons for our defeat on three seats. But overall, people have once again put faith in BJP," he said. 

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