In a major blow to the Congress in Gujarat, former party legislators Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala joined the BJP Thursday. Thakor and Zala had resigned as MLAs on July 5, apparently after voting against Congress candidates in the Rajya Sabha bypolls.
A prominent OBC leader of Gujarat, Thakor described the BJP as a party of "disciplined workers" and said it was difficult for him to work for his community when he was in the Congress. "I was feeling suffocated in the Congress as I could not work for development of the poor people of my community.
In that party (the Congress), no work can be done due to infighting and attitude of its leaders, said Thakor. He praised the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the BJP chief.
The 43-year-old ex-MLA from Radhanpur in Patan district said the BJP is a "disciplined party" where the voice of its workers is heard. Thakor and Zala joined the ruling party at a function held in its headquarters here in the presence of Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani.
Zala, a close associate of Thakor, was the MLA from Bayad in Sabarkantha district. In the past, Zala had said he was not feeling comfortable in the opposition party. Thakor had joined the Congress in 2017 just ahead of the assembly polls that year. The opposition party fielded the OBC leader from Radhanpur in the December 2017 assembly polls and he emerged victorious from the seat.
During the 2017 assembly poll campaign, Thakor had shared the dais with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on multiple occasions. However, Thakor soon got disillusioned with the Congress and frequently expressed his displeasure over the functioning of the state party leadership.
Thakor resigned from all posts in the Congress in April just before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state, where the BJP won all the 26 parliamentary seats for a second time in row. Vaghani, welcoming Thakor in the saffron fold, described him as a self-made leader who wants to work for development of OBC communities of the state.
He mobilised members of his OBC community under the banner of Thakor Sena and vehemently opposed the demand to include Patels in the list of Other Backward Classes. With the resignation of Thakor and Zala, the Congress's strength in the 182-member assembly has come down to 69.
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