Speculation about Alpesh joining BJP; OBC leader to take call today

Deepika S

Ahmedabad, Mar 08: Amid rumours of him heading to the ruling BJP in Gujarat, OBC leader and Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor has arrived in New Delhi to meet Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday. He is set to decide the next course of his political action today after weeks of suspense.

Thakor had campaigned for Congress in the Gujarat assembly elections. Thakor who represents Radhanpur constituency had earlier accused the grand old party of sidelining him and ignoring his community.

The Congress MLA from Radhanpur called a meeting of his Thakor Sena here Thursday to take a final decision on his next course of action amid speculation that he may join the saffron outfit.

"All the rumours that are being spread about me are aimed at damaging my image. I will hold a press conference tomorrow afternoon and clear my stand," Thakor told media after reports emerged he will be soon joining the BJP.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said doors of the BJP are open for anybody who wants to join the party.

"We welcome everybody who wants to join us and follow the BJP ideology," he said.

Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel, however, said in Vadodara that no Congress MLA will join the BJP.

Also Read | Hardik Patel to join Congress on March 12, to contest from Jamnagar

"I have confidence that none of our MLAs will join the BJP as they are ideologically close to Congress thinking.

Thakor had emerged as a prominent OBC leader in Gujarat after the Patidar community, led by Hardik Patel, launched an agitation for reservation in jobs and education under the OBC category.

Thakor had rallied OBC communities of Gujarat against the demand of the Patidar community.

Thakor had joined the Congress before the 2017 assembly elections along with his supporters and won from Radhanpur seat in Patan district.

However, his name was embroiled in the violence against migrant workers in Gujarat last year.

The violence started when a minor girl of the Thakor community was allegedly raped by a migrant labourer.

Gujarat had seen exodus of migrants from Hindi- speaking states after sporadic attacks on them after the rape incident.

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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