Alpesh Thakor, Zala resign after voting in RS bypolls

Congress MLAs Alpesh Thakor (Image courtesy ANI/Twitter)

Congress MLAs Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala resigned from the Gujarat Assembly Friday apparently after voting against the party candidates in the Rajya Sabha bypolls.

Both the disgruntled MLAs indulged in "cross-voting" as they gave their votes to BJP candidates instead of Congress nominees, said a senior Congress leader.

Thakor, who launched a vitriolic attack on the Congress after resigning from the Assembly membership, said he voted for "honest national leadership".

Voting for the bypolls to the two vacant Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat was held at the Assembly complex in Gandhinagar from 9 am to 4 pm Friday. Counting was taken up after the end of voting.

While the BJP has fielded External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and OBC leader Juglaji Thakor, the Congress has nominated Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya.

"I and Zala have resigned as Congress MLAs. We have submitted our resignation to the Assembly speaker, Thakor told reporters here.

"I have cast my vote for honest national leadership that wants to take the country to new heights. I cast vote as per my inner voice," Thakor said when asked if he has cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls.

The 43-year-old MLA from Radhanpur, who is a prominent OBC leader in Gujarat, said he was not happy in the Congress which he joined in 2017.

"I got nothing other than mental stress while in Congress. I am free from that burden," he said.

Thakor said he had conveyed his grievances to national leaders of the Congress, including Rahul Gandhi, but nothing happened.

"Ever since we have joined Congress, we received nothing but betrayal. I had informed Rahul Gandhi that attempts will be made to suppress honest leaders.

"But, unfortunately, he couldn't do anything. As a result, we were subjected to humiliation in the party," Thakor alleged.

"I was unable to do anything for my community as a Congress MLA. The Congress tried to defame me. Party leaders even asked me to resign. Thus, I and Zala have resigned today," said Thakor, who heads an outfit of his community.

Zala, the MLA from Bayad in Sabarkantha district, said he was not feeling comfortable in the main opposition party.

"I have also resigned as a Congress MLA. I was not comfortable with the party's ideology. Though I had made several complaints about some people who were working against the party, no action was taken against them by our leaders. Party workers were also unhappy over this issue," said Zala.

Both the legislators did not reveal their future course of action, but it is believed they will soon join the ruling BJP.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Paresh Dhanani of the Congress said apart from Thakor and Zala all the other 69 MLAs voted for the party candidates in the bypolls.

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