A day after meeting Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel, former Congressman and Gujarat OBC leader Alpesh Thakor on Tuesday made the explosive claim that more than 15 MLAs are leaving the Congress. Thakor, the MLA from Radhanpur in Patan district, had quit the Congress before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Thakor said, “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. 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.”
He also said that it was our decision and the voice of my conscience that we don't want to be here. We want to work for our people and the poor with help of the govt... Wait and watch, more than 15 MLAs are leaving Congress, everyone is distressed. More than half of the MLAs are upset.”
Thakor met Patel at his Gandhinagar office for about half an hour, BJP sources said.
The OBC leader's associate and Congress MLA from Bayad Dhavalsinh Zala was also present at the meeting, they said.
However, what transpired in the meeting was not known as both Thakor and Zala could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
The BJP appeared reluctant to provide details and speculate on the OBC leader's future course of action.
"There is no such development with regards to Alpesh Thakor (on joining the BJP) The meeting might be for some other reason as he is an MLA," state BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said.
However, speculation is rife among sections in both the Congress and the BJP here that he may be headed towards the saffron camp.
The Congress chose former MP Jagdish Thakor over him from Patan. The Congress had also ignored Thakor's demand for ticket to a member of his outfit, the Thakor Sena, from the Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat.
After emerging as a prominent OBC leader in Gujarat, he had joined the opposition party before the 2017 state polls and won from the Radhanpur Assembly seat.
Before quitting the Congress, he had met party president Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his displeasure against the functioning of the state leadership.