Alpesh Thakor ended weeks of speculation about his future as a Gujarat Congress MLA on Saturday, 9 March, when he declared that he will continue with the Grand Old Party, while admitting that he had considered changing sides for power.
In a press conference held in Ahmedabad, Alpesh said he was confused about the path to take as he wanted power and a minister’s post.
"“I agree I was confused till now and I don’t take such big decisions behind closed doors. Now I know I will take the difficult path to fight for my people and for that I will remain with Congress and support the party.”" - Alpesh Thakor, Gujarat Congress MLA from Radhanpur
For weeks, Thakor had kept the Congress on knife edge, especially when the BJP is managing to turn several MLAs from Opposition towards the saffron party.
“I am being honest, I wanted to become a minister and I did work towards it. When I thought positively towards moving to the BJP, I did remember how I won the elections in 2017 and how the people’s mandate instructed me to be with the Congress,” he added.
My Wife Will Not Contest Elections
Alpesh went on to say that he needed the power to help his poor voters get proper houses, education and jobs, for which it is necessary to be part of a strong government.
“I am not greedy for power, if that was the case, I could have become a minister six months ago. But I don’t want such power where the woes of the poor man is not heard," he told media persons.
He also wanted to lay rest to claims that he was seeking a ticket for his wife.
"“There are rumours that I want power and a ticket for my wife. My wife and I want to make one thing clear – she runs the house very well, something which I cannot, and she will never contest the elections ever.”" - Alpesh Thakor, Gujarat Congress MLA from Radhanpur
Since July 2018, the Gujarat Congress has lost five MLAs, four of whom have joined the BJP and one of them – Kunvarji Bavaliy – even won the bypolls, taking the BJP’s tally in the Assembly to 100.
Meanwhile, another MLA was disqualified by the Speaker after he was convicted in an illegal land mining case, though a district court has put a stay on his two years and nine month prison sentence.
A Tumultuous Ride So Far
As a leader of the OBC Ekta Manch, Alpesh Thakor managed to remain in the limelight during the reservation strife started by the Patidars in Gujarat. He reached the peak of his political career when he won the Radhanpur constituency on a Congress ticket in the 2017 Assembly Elections.
But his tenure was marred with controversy after the Thakor community drove out thousands of North Indian labouers from Gujarat in the aftermath of the brutal rape of a minor girl in Banaskantha district in October 2018.
The situation had escalated severely and fingers were pointed at Alpesh from within the Congress as well as the BJP for causing public disharmony. To make amends, Alpesh went on a day-long fast and pleaded with the members of his community to help North Indian labourers return to the state.
Soon, he was appointed the AICC Secretary of Bihar for the upcoming elections. Recently, Thakor had met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his displeasure against the functioning of the party's state leadership.
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