Gujarat: ex-Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor joins BJP 

Gujarat: ex-Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor joins BJP 

Thakor and Zala had resigned as MLAs on July 5, apparently after voting against Congress candidates in the Rajya Sabha bypolls.

Former Congress MLA and popular Other Backward Caste (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor along with his close associate Dhavalsinh Zala joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) officially on Thursday in the presence of party's state chief Jitu Vaghani and other local leaders.

"I have joined the BJP today and with this ends all the speculation. I am here to work for the poor and my community. The Congress party is full of leaders who are greedy and have personal ambitions rather than thinking about the country. After their defeat in the state assembly and Lok Sabha polls, they have not done any review. They don't have a national president even after so many days," Thakor told reporters at BJP's headquarters Kamalam in Gandhinagar moments after donning the saffron robe. He said that "It is important to be part of the ruling government in order to serve the poor." 

Thakor and his associate Zala came to the BJP office at around 4 pm followed by around 500 supporters beating drums and showing rose petals. The ex-MLA also leads Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena, an organisation he is said to have founded in 2011 which is active in north Gujarat. Through this organisation, he has been running a movement against alcohol addiction among the community. He said that alcohol is a "social issue" against which the drive will continue with the support of his new party.

Once considered one of the emerging youth leaders in the Congress from the state, who could pull crowd from his dominant Thakor community in north Gujarat, Alpesh Thakor, 44, became a rebel in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls held earlier this year.

While quitting Congress in April this year at the peak of the election season, he had alleged he was being "insulted" by senior Congress leaders. At that time he was holding at least seven posts in the party including General Secretary, All India Congress Committee.

However, he had not resigned as an MLA. It was only after voting in favour of BJP in the recently held Rajya Sabha Polls, he tendered his resignation along with Zala.

In 2017 assembly polls, Alpesh Thakor, Patidar reservation stir leader Hardik Patel and Scheduled Caste leader Jignesh Mevani had given a tough fight to the ruling BJP. However, Congress couldn't keep this troika intact.